Daesh’s footprint spreading in northern Somalia, warns UN

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Updated 08 November 2017
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Daesh’s footprint spreading in northern Somalia, warns UN

NAIROBI: A militant faction loyal to Daesh has increased its following in northern Somalia from a few dozen last year to up to 200 this year, a UN report said, days after the group came under US air attack for the first time.
The increase in strength of the terrorist group has attracted attention because some security officials fear it could offer a safe haven for Daesh militants fleeing military defeat in Syria or Iraq.
“The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) faction loyal to Sheikh Abdulqader Mumin — estimated...in 2016 to number not more than a few dozen..., has growing significantly in strength, and (now) consists of as many as 200 fighters,” said the report by a panel of UN experts obtained by Reuters.
“Even a few hundred armed fighters could destabilize the whole region,” said a regional diplomatic security source. “It is a recognition from the US that the situation in terms of the (Daesh) faction in Puntland is becoming increasingly critical.”
Somalia has been riven by civil war and militancy, though more in the south than in the north where the Puntland region is located, since 1991 when clan warlords overthrew a dictator before turning on each other.
Friday’s air strikes failed to kill Mumin, the security source said. But Abdirizak Ise Hussein, director of semi-autonomous Puntland’s spy service, said the strikes killed about 20 militants, including three Arabs.
Almost all Mumin’s fighters are Somali, the UN report said, though the group is believed to include a Sudanese man sanctioned by the US. The group also has contacts in Yemen. It was unclear if the Sudanese man under US sanctions was the same one reported killed in the airstrike.
“The number of Daesh fighters in Puntland has increased. Mostly they come from southern Somalia and a few, including foreigners, come from Yemen,” Col. Abdirahman Saiid, a military officer in Puntland, told Reuters.


UAE grants nationals of war-torn countries a visa to stay for one year

Updated 15 min 5 sec ago
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UAE grants nationals of war-torn countries a visa to stay for one year

DUBAI: The UAE is to grant people from war-torn countries and those hit by disasters a one-year stay in the country, state-news agency WAM reported.
Under the new resolution, that was passed on Monday, people will be allowed to stay for one year, although this can potentially be extended.