A rogue faction of the Venezuelan police attacked the country’s Supreme Court in Caracas on Tuesday, dropping grenades from a helicopter, Venezuelan government officials said. It was a rare uprising by government personnel in a country that has been on edge from mass protests and economic crises.
A video shot from a window and posted on Twitter shows a helicopter swooping in a circle around a building as explosions are heard.
Another video posted on social media on Tuesday showed a uniformed man identified as Oscar Pérez, flanked by masked, heavily armed men dressed in uniforms, taking responsibility for the operation. The speaker said he represented a coalition of military, police and civilian personnel who opposed what he called “this transitional, criminal government.”
“We are nationalists, patriots and institutionalists,” the man said. “This fight is not against other state security forces. It is against the impunity imposed by this government. It is against tyranny. It is against the death of young people fighting for their legitimate rights.”
It was not clear where the attackers were on Tuesday night or how much support, if any, they had. It could not be determined whether the attack resulted in casualties.
Elsewhere in Caracas, opposition members of Parliament said they were being besieged by armed government supporters.
Ernesto Villegas, Venezuela’s minister of communication and information, said on national television that President Nicolás Maduro had been briefed on “an act of violence” launched from a helicopter that belongs to a law enforcement agency.
Mr. Villegas characterized the event as an “uprising against the republic, the Constitution.”
Mr. Maduro condemned the attack in a televised address, calling it part of a “coup plot.”
He said the assailants launched grenades, including one that did not explode, while a “social event” was taking place in the court complex. He said the gunmen shot from the helicopter into offices and then flew over the building. “They could have left several dozen deaths,” he said. The president said he had “activated the entire national armed forces to defend people’s right to serenity.”
Mr. Maduro said, “Sooner or later we will capture the helicopter and those who have committed this armed attack.” His remark suggested the assailants were at large and in control of the aircraft.
Venezuela has been rattled for weeks by protests against the government, some of which have turned violent. It has resorted to increasingly heavy-handed tactics, including torture, to beat back demonstrations, according to accounts by detained demonstrators and human rights activists.
The turmoil has created rifts in the governing party, most notably the defection of the attorney general, Luisa Ortega, who broke ranks with Mr. Maduro in March. She accused him of trampling on constitutional norms after the Supreme Court, which is packed with government loyalists, issued a ruling significantly weakening the powers of the opposition-dominated Parliament.
For more than two years, Venezuelans have been reeling from the country’s worst economic crisis in generations. The price of oil, which long bolstered the economy and paid for social programs, has plummeted. Inflation is at record levels, and supermarket shelves are empty.
US Targets Islamic State in North Eastern Somalia
WASHINGTON / PENTAGON / LONDON — A U.S. airstrike has targeted Islamic State in northern Somalia, defense officials told VOA Friday.
The strike resulted in at least one casualty, a U.S. defense official said, without elaborating on the target of the attack.
The chairman of the town of Qandala, Jama Mohamed Qurshe, told VOA Somali that several missiles hit a base for IS militants at Buqa village, 60 kilometers south of his town in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
“According to the information we are getting from the ground, six missiles hit the militants’ base in the mountainous area. Local residents and pastorialists were shocked and fled from the area,” Qurshe said.
He said that prior to the strike, residents reporting hearing airplane sounds.
Details of the strike are still not clear due to the remoteness of the area, which locals said was only accessible to the militants; however, local officials and residents suspect the airstrike targeted the group’s senior leaders and perhaps even its top leader.
The pro-Islamic State faction in northeastern Somalia is led by Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin, a former al-Shabab cleric who pledged his allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2015. In 2016, the U.S. State Department designated Mumin as a global terrorist.
Since the emergence of the IS faction in October 2015, the militants have claimed responsibility for at least four deadly attacks in Puntland.
In late October of last year, the militants briefly seized Qandala, before they were driven out by Puntland’s government.
No cutoff in funding
Meanwhile, the U.S. government has denied reports that it is planning to cut funding for the Somali government.
Somali media reports said the U.S. might reduce funding because unnamed Somali officials helped facilitate the October 14 truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 350 people.
There were also reports that linked the alleged cut to an internal State Department finding that the department’s Africa Bureau is failing to ensure that U.S. funding is not diverted to al-Shabab militants.
In an email, a State Department official told VOA the reports were “incorrect.”
“Reports of funding being suspended to the Somali army due to alleged facilitation of the bombings by Somali officials are incorrect,” the official wrote. “The United States continues to provide extensive support to Somali security forces in their efforts to combat al-Shabab.”
On Wednesday, the Daily Nation, a leading newspaper in Kenya, quoted a report from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General. The report said the Africa Bureau had not established policy and procedures for identifying and mitigating terrorist financing risks for its programs in countries where militant organizations like al-Shabab and Boko Haram operate.
In his email, the State Department official said, “The United States prioritizes transparency and accountability in its partnership with Somalia, echoing one of the top priorities articulated by President Farmaajo upon his taking office earlier this year.”
“We have communicated conditions for U.S. security assistance to the federal government of Somalia, which includes enhanced measures to ensure proper oversight of our support,” he added.
Meanwhile, Somali leaders and the governors of Somali states are meeting for the fourth straight day in Mogadishu, in an effort to agree on implementation of a joint security plan.
The government is said to be preparing for a major offensive against al-Shabab.
Egypt’s Sisi stresses unity, sovereignty of Somalia
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi stressed on Wednesday his country’s firm stance towards the unity and sovereignty of the Somalia.
Sisi’s remarks came during a phone call with his Somali counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, state-run MENA News Agency reported.
During the phone conversation, the two leaders discussed means of enhancing joint ties besides promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of fighting terrorism and extremism.
They also reviewed the latest developments in Somalia and the efforts of the Somali government to restore security and stability so as to fulfill the aspirations of the Somali people in achieving development.
For his part, Farmajo lauded the Egyptian stance backing his country and the support it offers in attaining stability.
He further voiced his keenness on continuing the high-level coordination and consultations with Egypt pertaining to various issues of common interest topped by combating terrorism and bolstering joint cooperation in various domains.
Egypt and Somalia have been facing rising waves of terror acts carried out by Islamist groups that left hundreds of civilians, army personnel and policemen dead.
Opinion: Reasons Why Somalia’s president Farmaajo is becoming Africa’s Most Popular Beloved President
Ever since his historic election in February as a President of Somalia Mohamed A Farmajo has been a subject of public fascination. At first, his war on graft promised to cleanse the state of corruption, while his patriotic thrift inspired millions of Somali people.
Despite terrorism attacks recently the deadly on October 14,2017 president vows to eradicate Alshabab terrorists out of Somalia declaring full preparations for large-scale offensive against Al-Shabab..
Months ago he turns down $80m to cut ties with Qatar
He has been offered $80 million in exchange for his agreement to sever diplomatic relations with the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.
President Farmaajo improved rapidly Somalias relations to the rest of the world we all know all sovereign states in today’s world are interdependent regardless of how small or big are. What guides each sovereign state in relation to others or even international organisations is the foreign policy, whose one of the main contents is about diplomacy.
President Farmaajo has prioritize building strong relations nations like Turkey. Much credit to Turkeys had played a key role and take a lion share on supporting Somali people. Weeks ago Turkey opens military base in Mogadishu to train Somali soldiers. Turkeys’s biggest overseas military base. As Experts and political analysts say Diplomacy is to a nation what brain is to a person. President Farmaajo”.quickly,appointed,
Still despite major terrorist attacks government has made long strides in creating a peaceful Somalia, making to be named Somalia’s prime minster among ’most influential politicians in Somali’s history. Government efforts at advancing national reconciliation, anti-corruption measures, and socio-economic and security sector reforms in Somalia were cited as the reasons for the government progress a truth that is globally acknowledged, and which earned massive confidence Somali people and the mainly government donors and friends international community .
However, Somali government has also faced numerous external setbacks that prevented holding the entire
Somalia in control, especially from Al Shabaab, which had conducted terrorism attacks both in Somalia and in Kenya. Now government is putting up measures aimed at curbing the insecurity challenges. The neighboring governments, of Djibouti,Kenya and Ethiopia on the other hand, are trying now to assist Somali Federal government in eliminating Al Shabaab once and for all, and this is worth mentioning.
Somali Federal government has also faced internal setbacks- conflicts among with the Somali regional leaders on the issue regarding , the recent federal government neutral position on the Arab Gulf crisis which most corrupt regional leaders try to undermine federal government leadership neutral positions.
While majority of Somali are happy with the current political situation in Somalia. Recently, President of Somalia recently joined with the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutress and other world leaders in Kampala, Uganda at the major refugees in the region donor Confrence were historic Somali President generously donated 100,000 US dollars. And have also ordered foreign affairs and internal ministry to review numerous occasions previous government signed past agreements on the voluntary repatriation of the half a million Somali refugees in Dadaab camps. The assumption was that Somalia was eventually standing on its feet.
Knowing unilaterally Kenya government ordered for the closure of Dadaab camps after adjournment of the tripartite agreement, which had met an outcry from the international community. Still, the Somali refugees are receiving an orgy of threats from the Kenyan government.
Federal Government of Somalia set up plans and committees to collaborate the UN refugees agency UNHCR and regional governments especially Jubaland were most refugees returning. Assuring Federal government to ensure the safety of the refugees upon their return back to Somalia, although that seems impossible if the current insecurity and terrorism attacks continue.
To keep Somali people dreams alive and real the only way out for the president to meet the expectations of the Somali people. while being very careful in making decisions was who will he appoint a prime minister although mistakes are the order of the day in politics, repeating the same mistakes will have surely cost the government to lose trust among the people. President Of Somalia knew that the nation needs a strong prime minister who knows how to solve the Somali problems since he was previously being tested the waters of politics. He had chosen as a prime minster Hassan Khayre a qualified; patriot, intellectual, bureaucrat, who feels the pain of the people. Although it’ was difficult to know such a person. President Farmaajo seek suggestions from the Somali intellectuals, religious groups and even fellow politicians. A knew path avoid culture of future infighting between prime minster and president which had hindered in the past administrations as well on clan basis, competitiveness the core of the prolonged Somali conflicts.
Considering the fact that the Somali youth are entitled to take part in making political decisions, and his campaign pledges
May he Rest In Peace Abbas Siraji was among the cabinet young minister ever in the history of Somalia on May 3, 2017 gun men with government uniforms gunned and killed minster Abass down town Mogdishu. Speaking at the UN general assembly Somalia prime minister uses Abass Siraji as a role model and good example for the Somali youth.
Upon getting vote of confidence from
Somali parliament prime minister Hassan Kheyree government has made remarkable progress. strong support from the Somali people. Although the killing of Abass immediately met with anger and solidarity protests from the general public and from many lawmakers. Now Somali government now gain trust among the Somali people. And the government approval getting up day by day.
Vast administration experience.
c) Government strictness and familiarity with the protocols of classical democracies.
d) His diplomatic demeanor.
e) completed its first monthly payment of stipends to government soldiers, and it has also initiated the implementation of a biometric register for the security forces within a window of four months. This was a great achievement that had proved Somali Federal government seriousness and its capability to make Somalia stable.
f) On dispatching a high level federal delegations defuse clan-based tensions in several regions. This way has returned back the cordiality among different Somali clans, paving way for peaceful relations.
g) To improve transparency in the government, cabinet ministers fully disclosed transparency and signed a code of ethics.
h) An Anti-Corruption Commission with the power to carry out formal investigations and to review government decisions and protocols was also established so as to monitor public officials more closely
i) Unnecessary trips to abroad have been fully prohibited and all travels required the Premier’s consent.
j) On the war front, his tenure managed to secure control of 90% of Mugadishu, the capital of Somalia.
With his Excellency, President Farmaajo administration creates unique protocols that will definitely make sure Federal government to fulfill the promises it had made to the Somali people. We hope that President farmaajo and the Somali prime minister, to keep this momentum and address refugees issues more closely Dadaab will be a dead story and for Somalia will regain peace and stability, and the refugees will then return back to their country.
Suud Olat is Minnesota Based freelance journalist and refugees advocate founder of Refugees Forum and Advocacy.
Follow him on Twitter @SuudM or email him SuudOlat@gmail.com