Somalia clashes escalate regional tensions
Somali troops clashed with forces from the country's semi-autonomous Jubaland region last week in a flare-up of violence that is raising tensions with neighboring countries and may play into the hands of the militant group al-Shabab. Tensions have been rising since August, when Jubaland's incumbent president, Ahmed Madobe, won regional elections that Mogadishu described as "not free and fair." The central government wanted a loyalist candidate to win, as it seeks greater control over Somalia's regions ahead of upcoming national elections. Kenya, which has troops deployed as part of an African Union peace enforcement operation, is on the side of Madobe, who it sees as an ally against al-Shabab, while Ethiopia has aligned with Mogadishu. Kenya accused Somali troops of encroaching on its territory and destroying property during last week's violence, while the US said that the clashes are a distraction in efforts against al-Shabab. An estimated 56,000 people have been uprooted by the recent fighting. according to the UN.
From The New Humanitarian, March 6
US air-strikes in Somalia kill civilians: report
The US clams five "terrorists" were killed in air-strikes on Janaale, south of Mogadishu. But survivors of the slain say they were non-combatants traveling in a mini-bus on a local road—and that a 13-year-old boy was among the dead. Said Somali MP Mahad Dhoore: "They killed civilians. They are not telling the truth when they say they killed terrorists. These people are my constituents." (Al Jazeera)
Somalia: civilian deaths mount from US air-strikes
Civilian casualties continue to mount from the US military’s secret air war in Somalia, with no justice or reparation for the victims of possible violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International warned April 1, as it released details of two more deadly air-strikes so far this year. Amnesty said it has unearthed evidence that AFRICOM killed two civilians, and injured three more, in two-air strikes in Somalia in February 2020.
Shabab leader reported killed in US air-strike
A founding member al-Shabab was reportedly killed in a US air-strike at the community of Bush Madina, in territory controlled by the insurgent group. The Pentagon said Yusuf Jiis was killed in the April 2 raid, although the militant group has not confirmed it yet. (Africa Feeds, Garowe Online)
Deadly blast in Mogadishu after US defense secretary visit
A suicide bomber struck a popular ice cream shop in Mogadishu, killing at least seven people, hours after US acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller made an unannounced visit to the Somali capital. (VOA)