Somali forces arrest former minister in raid

FILE PHOTO: Members of Somali Armed Forces take up positions in the Dayniile district of Mogadishu, Somalia. (Reuters)
Updated 18 December 2017
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Somali forces arrest former minister in raid

MOGADISHU: Somali security forces have arrested a former minister and outspoken government critic after clashing with his bodyguards during an overnight raid on his home, the security ministry said on Monday.
Abdirahman Abdishakur was a candidate in a February election won by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed whose UN-backed government faces growing pressure over its failure to put an end to a militant insurgency.
Abdishakur was arrested for treason, a spokesman for the Internal Security Ministry Abdiasis Ali told reporters at a news conference, without giving more details.
He also declined to comment on reports that five bodyguards were killed and that Abdishakur had been lightly injured during the raid.
“The former minister was legally arrested by decree from the attorney general and internal security minister. He was accused of treason. His guards fought the security forces,” he said.
A policeman and a local elder told Reuters earlier that five bodyguards were killed during the raid. The elder, Abdullahi Ali, also said Abdishakur had been injured on the arm by a stray bullet.
At the same news conference on Monday, Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir described Abdishakur’s house as a hub for the opposition and a gathering point for people “who want to collapse the government.”
“We also warn those who meet at hotels,” he added. Many Somali officials including lawmakers live in fortified hotels for the security they offer.
Before Sunday’s raid Dahir had accused two other lawmakers of treason, prompting Abdishakur to post an angry response on Facebook.
“Let lawmakers be strangled, let their immunity be removed: This is a hopeless attack which portrays despair.”
The raid drew condemnation from other politicians.
 


Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

Updated 21 min 54 sec ago
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Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

  • Israel’s army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to confirm a truce was reached
  • The United Nations urged all sides to step “back from the brink” after months of increasing tensions

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: A cease-fire announced by Hamas largely held Saturday after a wave of deadly strikes across the Palestinian enclave sparked by the death of an Israeli soldier shot near the border.
Israel did not confirm the deal announced by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, which went into effect around midnight Friday.
Since then there have been no reports of Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave or of mortar fire from Gaza toward Israel.
“With Egyptian and UN efforts, we reached (an agreement) to return to the previous state of calm between the (Israeli) occupation and the Palestinian factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.
He gave no details of the deal.
Israel’s army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to confirm a truce was reached.
“All we can say is that there have been no incidents or Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since the last wave of airstrikes on Friday night,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.
On Friday, three Hamas militants were killed as air raids sent fireballs exploding into the sky over Gaza, while Israel said rockets had been fired back at its territory. A fourth Palestinian was shot dead in protests near the border.
The United Nations urged all sides to step “back from the brink” after months of increasing tensions.
The soldier, shot dead along the border in southern Gaza, was the first to be killed in and around the Palestinian enclave since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
Friday’s flare-up is the latest as demonstrations and clashes on the frontier since March have seen at least 149 Palestinians killed.
The Israeli army said they struck 60 Hamas sites including weapon manufacturing sites, a drone warehouse and a military operations room.
The cease-fire is the second since in a week.
Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since the 2014 war.