Daesh’s footprint spreading in northern Somalia, warns UN

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Updated 08 November 2017

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.


Internet restricted in protest-hit Iran: report

Updated 56 min 26 sec ago

Internet restricted in protest-hit Iran: report

TEHRAN: Authorities have restricted Internet access in Iran, the semi-official ISNA news agency said on Sunday, after nearly two days of nationwide protests triggered by a petrol price hike.

“Access to the Internet has been limited as of last night and for the next 24 hours,” an informed source at the information and telecommunications ministry said, quoted by ISNA.

The decision was made by the Supreme National Security Council of Iran and communicated to Internet service providors overnight, the source added.

It came after state television accused “hostile media” of trying to use fake news and videos on social media to exaggerate the protests as “large and extensive.”

Netblocks, a website that monitors online services, said late Saturday the country was in the grip of an Internet shutdown.

“Confirmed: Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national Internet shutdown; realtime network data show connectivity at 7 percent of ordinary levels after twelve hours of progressive network disconnections,” it said on Twitter.

At least one person was killed and others injured during the demonstrations that started across the country on Friday night, Iranian media said.

The protests erupted hours after it was announced the price of petrol would be increased by 50 percent for the first 60 liters and 300 percent for anything above that each month.