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Alisha Ryu

Terror Attacks Continue to Traumatize Somalis

In recent years, the rise of the militant al-Shabab group in Somalia, an al-Qaida ally fighting to implement its ultraconservative version of Islam in the Horn of Africa, has been accompanied by suicide and roadside bombings that have horrified Somalis, even those long accustomed to violence. In the Somali capita of Mogadishu, the threat of terrorism has not only altered the city's landscape in some areas, it has changed how the few Somalis still remaining in Mogadishu think and behave.    Just a few years ago, streets in the capital were so congested at times, drivers used to have to bu

Violence Marks Somali Government's Year Anniversary

January 29 was supposed to have been a day of celebration. In the sprawling presidential compound known as Villa Somalia, preparations had been made to mark the one-year anniversary of the new transitional government with poetry readings and a military parade.

Pirate Attacks Off Somalia Nearly Double

The International Maritime Bureau in London reports piracy incidents on the high seas increased nearly 40 percent in 2009 from a year ago.  Pirate activities off the coast of Somalia accounted for more than half of all attacks worldwide. In its annual report, the maritime watchdog said the number of attacks off the coast of Somalia doubled in 2009 from 111 to 217.   According to the bureau, pirates successfully hijacked 47 of those vessels and took 867 crew members hostage, earning them untold millions in ransom payments. The director of the International Maritime Bureau, Captain Potteng

Rival Somali Islamic Militias Clash in Power Struggle

After two days of clashes, a military commander for the Sufi militia, Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, says his forces have seized the town of Beledweyne in the Hiran region from Hizbul Islam rebels. The commander, Aden Mohamoud, says both sides took heavy casualties in what residents describe as among the worst fighting there in recent months.  Mohamoud says Ahlu-Sunna forces are in full control of Beledweyne and the town is now calm. The fighting broke out Sunday after Ahlu-Sunna fighters and local clan militias launched an offensive to capture Beledweyne, a strategic town near the border with

Al-Qaida Militants Retreat from Strategic Somali Town

Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants say they have made a tactical retreat from Dhusamareb, the central Somali town al-Shabab attacked three days ago in a bid to oust a rival Islamist group.  Al-Shabab views Dhusamareb as an important stepping stone in its quest to put all of Somalia under al-Shabab control. The spokesman of the Islamist militia Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, Sheik Abdullahi Sheik Abu Yusuf, says al-Shabab was forced to withdraw from Dhusamareb after losing numerous fighters during Saturday's day-long battle.   Abu Yusuf says more than 100 bodies of al-Shabab fighters ha

Al-Shabab Militants Divided over Tactics, Foreign Control

A rising dispute between militants in Somalia may have split the country's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group into two factions.

Islamist Ally Turns on Somalia's al-Shabab

In Somalia, an Islamist faction says it considers its former ally, al-Shabab, to be the greatest threat to the country.  A spokesman for the leader of the Ras Kamboni faction of Hizbul Islam says Hizbul Islam fighters are preparing to challenge al-Shabab in all areas of southern and central Somalia. The spokesman for the leader of the Ras Kamboni Brigade tells VOA the fight against al-Shabab militants, which began in late September in the southern port city of Kismayo, is expected to continue until al-Shabab is ousted from Somalia.  Abdinasir Seraar is the spokesman for Ahmed Madobe, the m

Media Rights Groups Call for Probe Into Shooting of VOA Reporter in Puntland

International media rights groups are expressing shock and concern over reports a journalist working for VOA's Somali Service in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland may have been deliberately shot by the police.   Tuesday's shooting of reporter Mohamed Yasin Ishaq in the Puntland-administered part of Galkayo in central Somalia has sparked alarm among international media groups already distressed by deteriorating working conditions for journalists in Somalia.

Somalia Terrorist Group Suspected in Killing of Puntland Judge

Security forces in Somalia's northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland say three people have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a judge late Wednesday in the commercial port town of Bosasso.  The assassination may be linked to a Puntland cell of al-Shabab, a militant group linked with al-Qaida. According to witnesses, two masked gunmen ambushed the judge, Sheik Mohamed Abdi Aware, as he left a mosque. Aware died after being shot several times in the head and chest.