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AMISOM hands over Somali National University to the Federal Government of Somalia



Mogadishu, 11 July 2017 – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) today officially handed over the premises of the Somali National University back to the federal government authorities, relinquishing control of the institution, which it had occupied for the last 10 years.

AU troops from Burundi contingent first occupied the university in 2007, starting off as a small Forward Operating Base, and later evolving into a Battalion headquarters to coordinate operations against Al-Shabaab; succeeding to drive the militants out of Mogadishu through combined efforts with other AU troops. Today’s handover paves way for the re-opening of the learning institution.

“AMISOM, with this event, is showing clearly that we have started the transition to the Somalis. We are transiting the University of Somalia from a military barracks, back into an institution of higher learning and putting it back into the hands of the Somalis,” Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, the AU Special Representative for Somalia told guests at the handover ceremony, officiated by the Minister for Higher Education Mr. Abdirahman Dahir Osman.

The troops which set base at the university were relocated to the headquarters of AMISOM Sector 5, in Jowhar, in an exercise that commenced in April 2016. The AU Special Representative said relinquishing control of the university was the “start of the gradual process to hand over security to the Somali National Security Forces”, adding that it demonstrates how Somalis are leading efforts to reconstruct their country.
“This hand over ceremony is an affirmation that the Al-Shabaab days are numbered. They controlled this city for many years. But where are they today? They are in the bush,” Amb. Madeira remarked.

Established in 1954, the university closed its doors as a result of the outbreak of the civil war in 1991. However, it re-opened its constituent colleges in August 2014, to offer specialized training, after a return to relative peace in Somalia.

“We are here for a sort of triple celebration. One, is to recognize the role of AMISOM and in this case, the Burundi contingent, more broadly AMISOM, working in partnership with the Somali security forces in securing this place and so much of Somalia in the last difficult 10 years and I pay deep tribute to that,” Mr. Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia said in his address.

Mr. Abdirahman Dahir Osman, the federal Minister for Higher Education described the handover as “a symbol of the rebirth of Somalia”.
“We give priority to security, economic development and importantly, education. We believe that education lays the foundation for sustainable development,” the minister said.

His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Jimale, the Rector of the university, who said handing back the premises to the federal government “marked a return of peace, security and stability”, in Somalia.

The first batch of student admissions to Somalia’s oldest university could start as early as September 2017, once the government gives the institution the green light.


Somalia: Turkish foundation’s school hosts 500 students



Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) on Tuesday said the Sheikh Sufi Imam Hatip High School in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, which it restored six years ago, currently hosts 500 students.

According to Turkey’s religious services consultant in Somalia Ahmet Akturk, numerous students were orphans. TDV said 270 of these students are boarders.

”All of the students’ costs are covered by TDV and the foundation will make sure the students continue their university studies,” he added.

Turkey began to set up various projects in Somalia in 2011 when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an initiative to help the East African country, which was undergoing a famine due to drought.

The initiative later grew to other humanitarian activities and educational projects, according to the statement.

Sheikh Sufi Imam Hatip High School, which has existed in Mogadishu since 1960, stopped functioning in 1991 due to civil war.

According to TDV , a new protocol signed with the Ministry of Education of Somalia in 2012 led to the resumption of educational activities.

Approximately 2,000 students apply to the school every year but only a hundred are accepted due to quota restrictions.

Eleventh grade student Muhammad Hasan said the school was a “great opportunity” for all students there.

“We get a combination of scientific and religious knowledge, we learn in the best way,” Hasan added.

According to Leyla Sherif, another student, the school provides not only education but safety and health services too.

“Our school is one of the best schools in Somalia. We learn both religion and science and my favorite course is Turkish,” Leyla added.

Since 2011, TDV has built centers for the disabled, hospitals, and orphanages in Mogadishu.

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Somali graduates praise peace, harmony and good social development in Malaysia



Somali graduates Abbas Mohamad Mahdi , 28 (left), and Ahmed Derow Isak, 32, from Mogadishu, are determined to return home and work in their home country after completing both their Bachelor and Master degrees in Information Technology. Pix by Amran Hamid

SINTOK: Despite the unrest in some parts of their country, two Somali graduates from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) are keen to return home to serve the people.

Abbas Mohamad Mahdi, 28, and Ahmed Derow Isak, 32, from Mogadishu, are determined to return home and work in their home country after completing both their Bachelor and Master degrees in Information Technology.

The duo received their Master of Science (Information Technology) from UUM Pro-chancellor Tan Sri Osman Aroff today.

Abbas said as the second of six siblings, he wanted to support his younger siblings to further their education.

“My father passed away when I was eight years old and my mother raised the family by doing odd jobs.

“I was able to further my studies here thanks to my elder sister and a younger brother who helped me financially,” he said when met.

Abbas said he chose to come to UUM after he heard about it from friends who had furthered their studies at the university.

He initially planned to further his studies in Sudan but when he came to know about the peace, harmony and good social development enjoyed by Malaysians, he decided to come here to study.

Ahmed Derow said life in Malaysia was better than Somalia but he would still return home to work in his own country.

“My wife is there and so are my siblings who have helped to finance my studies here.

I will use the knowledge and experience I gained in this country to give back to my people back home,” he said.

Ahmad Derow said although his mother has migrated to United Kingdom and he could further his studies there, the cost that he need to bear was too high.

He said Malaysians should be grateful by the various benefits that they enjoy especially in the furthering their studies locally.

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Turkish NGO puts Somali doctors through medical school



Five Somali doctors on Friday graduated from medical school under a special program organized by a Turkish NGO.

The new MDs got their diplomas from the program organized by Doctors Worldwide Turkey (DWWT) at a ceremony in Mogadishu, the capital of the Horn of Africa country.

Safa Simsek of the NGO told Anadolu Agency: “Apart from nine physicians who graduated last year from the program, which we started in 2013 in Somalia, five more doctors graduated this year, including three general practitioners and two internal medicine specialists.”

Simsek also pointed to Muhammad Osman, a 12-year-old Somali who got cataracts six years ago, and was cured by Turkish doctors in a free operation.

“To date we have performed 3,000 cataract surgeries in Somalia,” he added.

Cataracts are an eye condition that results in cloudy vision.

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