Somalia’s Al-Shabab ‘sets up COVID-19 treatment center’

Somali government soldiers walk near a car at the Benadir checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia August 5, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Updated 14 June 2020

Somalia’s Al-Shabab ‘sets up COVID-19 treatment center’

  • “International health organizations said COVID-19 is terribly spreading in countries of Africa continent”

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s militant group Al-Shabab said on Friday they had set up a COVID-19 treatment center in the country, and said the disease posed a grave threat, citing international health authorities.
“Al-Shabab’s corona (virus) prevention and treatment committee has opened a COVID-19 center,” the group said in a broadcast on their radio Andalus, adding the center had been set up in Jilib, about 380 km south of the capital Mogadishu.
“International health organizations said COVID-19 is terribly spreading in countries of Africa continent.”
For more than a decade the group has been fighting to topple the Horn of Africa’s Western-backed central government and establish its own government.
It frequently carries out bombings and gun assaults in Somalia against both military and civilian targets including hotels, intersections and checkpoints.

HIGHLIGHT

For more than a decade the group has been fighting to topple the Horn of Africa’s Western-backed central government and establish its own government.

In the broadcast a man who identified himself as Sheikh Mohamed Bali thanked Al-Shabab for setting up the center and asked those with symptoms to report to the center.
“We thank the administration who established the center, we ask the people not to hide (the) disease to avoid spreading of the virus, people should report to the center,” he said.
Another person in the broadcast who did not identify himself said the center is ready with vehicles to transport suspected coronavirus patients who call in seeking for care.


UK relatives of Daesh ‘Beatles’ victims relieved as trial nears

Updated 23 September 2020

UK relatives of Daesh ‘Beatles’ victims relieved as trial nears

  • The evidence regarding El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey was transferred to Washington immediately after Tuesday’s court ruling
  • The pair, who have been stripped of UK citizenship, are in the custody of US forces in Iraq

LONDON: Relatives of two Britons killed by a Daesh cell on Wednesday welcomed a breakthrough that advances the US trial of two Londoners accused of their brutal deaths.
The families of Alan Henning and David Haines said a ruling by the London High Court permitting the UK government to share evidence with US authorities about the suspects was a “huge result for us.”
“We have only ever wanted to see these two men being held accountable and brought to justice through a fair trial for their alleged actions,” they said in a statement released by the charity Hostage International.
The evidence regarding El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey was transferred to Washington immediately after Tuesday’s court ruling.
The pair, who have been stripped of UK citizenship, are in the custody of US forces in Iraq.
Kotey and Elsheikh’s four-member cell was dubbed “the Beatles” by their captives due to their English accents. They are accused of torturing and killing victims, including by beheading, and Daesh released videos of the deaths for propaganda purposes.
A two-year legal impasse concerning the suspects was broken last month when Attorney General Bill Barr said they would be spared execution if convicted after trial in the United States.
The United States wants to try them for the murder of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig, during 2014-2015.
Taxi driver Henning and former aircraft engineer Haines, who had both gone to Syria to do aid work, were beheaded in 2014.
Another of the cell’s alleged victims was British photojournalist John Cantlie, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 and remains missing.
Cantlie’s sister Jessica Pocock told of the relatives’ intense frustration at the long legal wait.
“At times we felt absolutely desperate as to whether the legal system was ever going to be able to bring these two to justice — wherever they may be,” she told BBC radio.
“That was always terribly important to us to have a proper, fair trial. The families need nothing less than a fair trial,” she said.
The US Department of Justice welcomed the court ruling and expressed gratitude to Britain for transferring the evidence, although a trial date has yet to be set.