Seven killed as militants attack checkpoint in Somalia’s Puntland

Security forces stand near the wreckage of a minibus at the scene of a car bomb attack in Mogadishu, Somalia on Sept. 28, 2017. (AP)
Updated 09 October 2017
0

Seven killed as militants attack checkpoint in Somalia’s Puntland

BOSASO, Somalia: Al-Shabab militants attacked a checkpoint in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, killing at least seven people in the early hours of Monday, police said.
The fighters then ambushed officers rushing in to help colleagues on the outskirts of the city of Bosaso, an officer at the scene said.
Al-Shabab said it took the checkpoint then left, though the police said they fought off the assault.
Al-Shabab has launched a string of attacks on Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and other areas controlled by the federal government in a bid to oust the Western-backed authorities.
Attacks are relatively rare in Puntland, which has its own government and security forces patrolling its territory on the northeastern tip of the Horn of Africa, jutting out into the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
“At about 1 a.m., many well-armed Al-Shabab fighters attacked us from all directions in an attempt to capture the checkpoint,” police captain Abdifatah Mohamed said.
Three police and four civilians died and at least 13 others were wounded in the clashes, he said over the phone from the checkpoint.
Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al-Shabab’s military operation spokesman, said its fighters killed seven soldiers and wounded 11 others.
“We captured the Bosaso checkpoint and left this morning. We also ambushed a police reinforcement,” he said.
Puntland is also home to a splinter group of Al-Shabab that has sworn allegiance to Daesh. Security sources say a small contingent of foreign fighters is based there.


Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

Updated 27 min 36 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

  • They start their engines and hit the roads throughout the Kingdom
  • End of driving ban is crowning achievement so far of Saudi Vision 2030

Women throughout Saudi Arabia waited for the stroke of midnight, turned the keys in the ignition, fired up their engines — and hit the road to a bright new future.

It was the moment they had waited for since King Salman issued the royal decree on September 26, 2017, to lift the driving ban on women. 

Just after midnight on Saturday and in the first minutes of Sunday, Samah Algosaibi grabbed the keys to her family’s 1959 Corvette C1 and drove out of the driveway of her beach house in Khobar.
“We are witnessing history in the making as we look toward the dawn of a promising future,” said Algosaibi, the first female board member of Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros.

“As a businesswoman in Saudi Arabia, I am grateful for the women’s empowerment movement taking place. Today, I am honored to be sitting behind the wheel of change.”

Another woman to hit the road after midnight was Lina Almaeena, a member of the Saudi Shoura Council. “It feels very liberating,” she said about driving her mother’s Lexus.
Almaeena, also the co-founder and director of Jeddah United Sports Co, had exchanged her UAE license for a Saudi one. 

“I am thrilled!” Sarah Alwassia, 35, a nutritionist in Jeddah, told Arab News. “I learnt how to drive 18 years ago in the States where I got my driving license. I can’t believe that the day to drive in my own home town has come.”

Alwassia obtained her first American license when she was 18 years old in 2000, and had it exchanged for a Saudi license on June 6 in Jeddah. She explained that she is a mother, and this change provided comfort for her and her family. It also comes with various benefits, such as taking quick action in emergencies, and economic benefits such as saving money instead of paying for a driver when she needs to run errands. 

“I will be driving my kids to school and picking them up in comfort and privacy,” she said.

Women in the Kingdom commented on how this event is changing the course of their lives. “Independence is a huge thing for me,” Alwassia said. “Driving is one small part of it. I am very optimistic of the change that our loving country has made.”  

Alwassia applauds the efforts the country has made to support women. “I am confident that driving in the beginning will be pleasant, since our country has made all of the effort to support women and to protect them.
“I think our society was looking forward for this change, and I am sure the majority will adapt fast.

“I feel safe, our country did everything to make this transition pleasant and safe for every woman behind the wheel. I am really thankful to witness this historic moment and I am so happy for all the women in Saudi Arabia, especially my daughters.”
Sahar Nasief, 64, a retired lecturer from the European languages and Literature Department at King Abdulaziz University, said: “Nothing could describe my feelings. I can't wait to get on the road.”
Nasief received a very special gift from Ford for this occasion.

“They gave me a 2018 Expedition to drive for three days, a Mustang California Special,” she told Arab News.

Nasief obtained her Saudi license on June 7. She also holds a British license and two American licenses. “Now, I have my national license too,” she said. 

She also said the lifting of the ban provided a sense of relief. “I feel that I can practice one of my rights, and I don't have to live at the mercy of my driver any more.”
Society has been demanding such a change for years, “as it will take the physical and economic burden off most men.”
Pointing to the anti-harassment law, Nasief said: “I feel very confident especially after announcing the strict harassment law.”
Joumana Mattar, 36, a Jordanian interior designer, exchanged her Jordanian driver’s license and obtained a Saudi one on June 11. 

“I had my Jordanian license since I was 18 years old, and the moment I heard about the opening of exchanging foreign licenses, I immediately booked an appointment,” she said.
Mattar said she looks forward to the change in so many ways. “I'm finally in control of my time, schedule and privacy.” 

Mattar said she is both confident and anxious about the event. “I'm anxious only for feeling that I'm part of a huge first step for women driving in the Kingdom, but I'm confident also because of the support that I'm getting from my husband and family.
“Every first step is the hardest. Society is facing a huge change, but I'm positive because this change is done and supported by the government and Vision 2030.”

Mattar said she feels secure now. “I'm in control of any case I'm facing.”

Download our @ArabNews #SaudiWomenDriving cover by @malikafavre https://startyourengines.21wallpaper.design