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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
16 January 2006

SOMALIA: Year in brief 2005 - A chronology of key events

NAIROBI, 16 Jan 2006 (IRIN) -

January February March April
May June July August
September October November December




JANUARY


6 Jan - The United Nations launches a flash interagency appeal for more than US $10 million to help thousands of Somalis affected by the tsunami. The appeal is part of a larger global request for $977 million for all the countries affected by the disaster.

13 Jan - The Somali transitional parliament approves the new cabinet named by Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Gedi, four weeks after the assembly rejected his earlier cabinet on the grounds that its selection was unconstitutional. MPs prepare to visit tsunami-hit Hafun and Barava in the northeast to assess the extent of damage.

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FEBRUARY


1 Feb - The first group of the Kenya-based Somali MPs leave Nairobi for Mogadishu in a move that marks the beginning of the new administration's relocation back home. Once in the capital, they will lay the groundwork for the return of the rest of the government, which has not been able to relocate to Mogadishu because of security concerns.

10 Feb - An international journalist is killed by unidentified gunmen in Mogadishu, raising doubts about the safety of the capital at a time when the new government is preparing to return. Kate Peyton, 39, who is working for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), is shot in front of her hotel. She is rushed to a local hospital and dies there later. The killing is widely condemned.

17 Feb - An explosive device goes off on a street in Mogadishu, killing at least two people and injuring six others. The blast occurs while military experts from several African countries are in the city to assess the situation, ahead of the proposed deployment of an African Union peace mission.

24 Feb - Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Prime Minister Gedi arrive in Jowhar, 90 km north of Mogadishu, to begin a weeklong "meet the people" tour. Local leaders receive Yusuf and Gedi, who are accompanied by a large delegation of the Kenya-based interim Somali government. It is the first time they have stepped on Somali soil since Yusuf's election in October 2004 and his appointment of Gedi two months later.

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MARCH


1 Mar - Authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia announce a ban on all types of plastic bags. "The bags have not only become an environmental problem, but also an eyesore," says Information Minister Abdillahi Duale. The Somaliland cabinet decided to ban the bags, which had been nicknamed "the Hargeysa flower", following an assessment of the damage they cause to the environment.

7 Mar - Yusuf and Gedi return to Nairobi after a nine-day tour of Somalia, including the towns of Jowhar, Beletweyn, Garowe, Bosasso, Galkayo and Baidao. The delegation did not visit Mogadishu.

15 Mar - Weapons continue to enter Somalia despite a UN arms embargo, monitors report. The UN-appointed team warns that violations of the embargo could undermine efforts to install the new government. The team also gives the Security Council a confidential list of violators.

17 Mar - Three Somali MPs are wounded when fighting breaks out during a parliamentary debate in Nairobi over the proposed deployment of peacekeeping troops to the war-torn country. MPs beat one another and hurl chairs at each other. The fight begins after the speaker, Sharif Hassan Shaykh Aden, announces the results of a vote on a motion to include troops from neighbouring countries in the proposed force. Those opposed win by 156 votes to 55, with six abstentions.

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APRIL


24 Apr - Five people die and more than 1,000 others are displaced when torrential rains batter Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland. The rain causes the seasonal Hargeysa River to burst its banks, triggering floods that destroying property and infrastructure.

29 Apr – Gedi arrives in Mogadishu with a team of ministers and MPs. It is his first visit to the capital since his appointment in December 2004.

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MAY


3 May - At least 15 people are killed and 50 injured during an explosion at a football stadium in Mogadishu, where Gedi is addressing a public rally. Most of those killed or injured are militiamen who were standing near the site of the explosion. Thousands of people who had turned up to listen to Gedi flee the stadium.

12 May - A 1,700-strong peacekeeping force will be deployed to Somalia within weeks to facilitate the return of the transitional government from its present base in Nairobi. The force will be made up of Ugandan and Sudanese troops, and it is expected to be deployed for six to nine months at a cost of US $102 million, according to the African Union.

25 May - Amnesty International urges authorities in Somaliland to release 100 members of the minority Gaboye community who were detained as they demonstrated on 13 May against the killing of one of their members by the police. The detainees are being held incommunicado and without charge in unknown locations in Hargeysa.

30 May - Five people are killed and over a dozen injured in fighting between rival factions in the town of Baidoa, 240 km northwest of Mogadishu. The fighting is between different factions of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army, which controls much of Bay and Bakol regions in southwestern Somalia.

31 May - François Lonseny Fall, the newly appointed special representative of the UN Secretary-General to Somalia, meets interim President Yusuf Ahmed and assures him of the UN's commitment to helping consolidate the Somali peace process.

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JUNE


4-5 June - At least seven people drown and thousands of villagers are rendered homeless when flash floods hit Bu'ale district in the Middle Juba region of southern Somalia. Torrential rains inundate large tracts of farmland. Fields that had already been planted are devastated and food stores are washed away.

6 June - At least 20 people are killed, 50 wounded and hundreds more displaced during interclan fighting in Beletweyne in south-central Somalia. The fighting starts when militias from the Galje'el and Jajele sub-clans clash over a land dispute and revenge killings for the deaths of two Jajele men and one Galj'el man.

8 June - Hotels in Nairobi give members of Somalia's transitional government two days to vacate the rooms they have occupied for almost three years. "Where to go in Somalia is a decision for the Somali government," says Muhammad Abdi Affey, Kenya’s ambassador to Somalia. However, Somali officials, whose accommodation was being paid for by the international community, are not forced to leave Kenya completely.

13 June – The transitional government, which has been based in Nairobi since its creation eight months earlier, begins relocating to Somalia. Somali government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari says the move will be completed in a few days. "This morning [Monday] the president, the prime minister, ministers and members of parliament will attend a farewell ceremony being held for them by [Kenyan] President [Mwai] Kibaki at State House," Dinari says. Interim President Yusuf Ahmed would depart for Somalia following the ceremony, accompanied by cabinet miinisters, Members of Parliament and other officials.

26 June - At least 2,000 people are left homeless when a fire sweeps through the Buul Eelaay camp for internally displaced persons in the semiautonomous state of Puntland.

27 June - Armed men hijack a commercial vessel that had been chartered by the World Food Programme (WFP) to transport 830 tonnes of food aid to thousands of people affected by the 26 December tsunami in northeastern Somalia. "The ship was going from Mombasa [port in Kenya] to Bossaso [port in northeastern Somalia]," says Robert Hauser, WFP's Somalia country director.

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JULY


5 July - An increase in weapons entering Somalia in violation of a 1992 UN embargo, as well as continuing differences between Somali leaders, are fuelling tensions, a committee monitoring the peace process warns. "The international community demands a halt to the supply, delivery and reception of arms and calls for the respect of the arms embargo," it said, pointing out that there had been an increase in tension, both in terms of media rhetoric and reported militia movements.

11 July - Unidentified assailants shoot and kill prominent Somali peace activist Abdulkadir Yahya Ali during an early morning raid on his home in Mogadishu. Yahya was the co-founder and director of the Centre for Research and Dialogue, which focuses on peace-building activities.

22 July - Dozens of people are feared dead and many more injured in clashes between the Gare and Marehan clans in the town of Boru-Hache, also known as El-Waaq, in southwestern Somalia's Gedo region. Thousands of people flee across the border to seek refuge in the neighbouring Kenyan town of El Wak.

26 July – Yusuf and his entourage arrive in Jowhar to join the prime minister in the temporary seat of the transitional government. Yusuf travelled from his northeastern hometown of Galkayo in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland.

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AUGUST


9 Aug – The transitional federal government (TFG) denies that there is a split within its ranks over the deployment of foreign peacekeeping troops and relocation to Mogadishu. "There may be misunderstandings and differences of opinion, but I am not aware of any split or two camps within the TFG," says Abdirahman Dinari, government spokesman.

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SEPTEMBER


1 Sept - Human rights violations, including harassment of minorities and trafficking of human beings, remain rampant in Somalia despite the creation of a transitional government, Ghanim Alnajjar, the UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, tells a news conference in Nairobi at the end of an 11-day mission to Somalia.

29 Sept - Voters in Somaliland go to the polls to elect 82 members of parliament.

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OCTOBER


2 Oct - The hijackers of a ship transporting food aid for Somali survivors of the December tsunami release the vessel, leaving it to proceed to El Maan port, north of Mogadishu, nearly 100 days after it was commandeered.

3 Oct - The UN strongly condemns the killing of one of its staff by unknown gunmen in Kismayo, some 500 km south of Mogadishu. Mohamuud Muse Gurage, a Somali national, was walking towards his house from the UN offices when gunmen attacked and fatally shot him.

15 Oct - The Somaliland election commission reports that the ruling party has won more seats than its two opposition challengers in September’s legislative polls. The Union of Democrats wins 33 of the 82 seats in parliament, while the opposition Kulmiye (Solidarity) and Justice and Welfare (UCID) parties take 28 and 21 seats respectively. Some 246 candidates competed for the parliamentary seats, and two of seven women candidates were elected.

16 Oct - The Security Council condemns the increase in the flow of arms and ammunition into Somalia in violation of a 13-year-old arms embargo. The resolution follows findings by a UN monitoring team on 4 October that violations - both by the Somali government, its opponents and certain states in the region - had taken a "sustained and dramatic upswing".

24 Oct - The UN's Special Representative to Somalia, François Lonseny Fall, leaves Nairobi for Jowhar to meet senior members of the transitional government. The one-day trip is part of his ongoing efforts to foster dialogue and end differences within the transitional government.

27 Oct - A serious drought is taking hold in parts of southern Somalia, and thousands of people face significant water and food shortages, says Muhammad Abdi Hayir, information minister. The drought is most acute in the regions of Gedo and Middle Juba and parts of Lower Juba.

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NOVEMBER


7 Nov - At least nine people are killed and several others injured when a convoy carrying Gedi is ambushed in a Mogadishu suburb during his visit from Jowhar. It is his second visit to the capital since his appointment as prime minister. The first trip was marred by an explosion while he was addressing a public rally at a football stadium on 3 May.

14 Nov - A court in Somaliland sentences eight people to death for the murders of aid workers between 2003 and 2004. Richard Eyeington and his wife, Enid, were shot dead in October 2003 at their home in a school compound in Sheik town, some 250 km from Hargeysa. The two were working for SOS Children's Villages to reopen a school that had been closed in the 1970s during the regime of Muhammad Siyad Barre. The killings occurred just two weeks after the murder of an Italian hospital director, Annalena Tonelli, in Borama town.

23 Nov - More than 100 representatives from different Somali groups, the UN, the World Bank, donors and nongovernmental organisations, meet in Nairobi to plan for the future of Somalia. The aim of the retreat is to discuss the objectives, methodology and timeline for producing a reconstruction and development programme, and to produce a document to mobilise and coordinate international assistance for a five-year period.

29 Nov - The official opening of the newly elected Somaliland parliament is marred by student demonstrations and scuffles by members of parliament. Hundreds of secondary students take to the streets in Hargeysa to protest the alleged killing of a student by police. Despite the disturbances, the newly elected MPs take their oath of office. A fight breaks out when the 48 members of the opposition object to the temporary chairman's decision to adjourn the session after the opening ceremony.

30 Nov – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which brokered Somalia's reconciliation process, calls for the lifting of a UN arms embargo to enable the Somali transitional government to establish security institutions. The body’s council of ministers, which met in Jowhar, says Somalia has a legitimate government that should be allowed to create law enforcement agencies.

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DECEMBER


5 Dec - Authorities in Somaliland and Puntland exchange detainees who were captured 12 months earlier during clashes over the disputed Sool border region. The exchange takes place at Ariade area in Sool, a flash point during previous flare-ups. Some 24 detainees from Somaliland and 12 from Puntland are exchanged.

15 Dec - The UN launches a $174 million global humanitarian appeal for 2006. It says civil unrest, assassinations and piracy in Somalia are hampering humanitarian access to over one million vulnerable people. The appeal for Somalia focuses on protection, education - particularly for girls - and increased access to safe drinking water.

22 Dec - An estimated two million people in Somalia are facing an imminent humanitarian emergency and acute livelihood crisis over the next six months, warns the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

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[ENDS]

 

This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but May not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2006



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