June 29, 2012: In the central Somalia town of Baladweyne an al Shabaab roadside bomb hit an Ethiopian Army convoy. There were an unknown number of casualties. Al Shabaab no longer holds any large towns, but hundreds of these Islamic terrorists are hiding out in villages and launching raids, ambushes, and roadside bomb attacks against peacekeepers and soldiers from the TNG (Transitional National Government) and Ethiopia. These troops are preventing al Shabaab from overwhelming local clan militias and taking control of large towns.
The TNG and other Somali leaders have agreed on a draft constitution which will be voted on in July. The TNG is to be replaced by a new, elected government by August 20th. Ethiopia has agreed to keep its troops in Somalia until that date.
The TNG leadership is calling for large amounts of foreign aid so a coast guard can be formed and the pirates eliminated. Foreign aid donors refuse to cooperate because they do not trust the TNG to carry this out and believe most of the money would be stolen. The TNG leaders say they are offended by this accusation, which is based on the bad behavior of TNG leaders in the past. The UAE (United Arab Emirates) are backing the coast guard proposal and have put up a million dollars to get it started. This has not encouraged other donorsbecause businessmen and gangsters from the UAE have long facilitated much illegal behavior in Somalia.
Kenyan troops have managed to push al Shabaab forces 140 kilometers away from the Kenyan border. They did this while taking minimal casualties, mainly because the Kenyan troops cooperated closely with local clan leaders who were eager to get rid of the harsh Islamic conservative rules al Shabaab had imposed on the area. By coming in as allies, not conquerors, the Kenyan troops found cooperation, not resistance, from most local Somalis.
Soldiers of the TNG raided a pirate base in central Somalia and freed a South African couple who were kidnapped 18 months ago when their sailboat was seized off the Kenyan coast. Pirates have been trying to obtain a high ransom for the couple ever since.
The Somali pirates have seized 170 ships (and 3,400 crewmen) in the last four years, but for the first half of 2012, they captured only five ships. For the same period last year 28 were taken. In the past year ransoms have averaged $4.7 million per ship. The pirates are not happy with this and have been demanding higher ransoms, while also treating their captives more harshly. Some 1,200 sailors were held captive by pirates during 2011, and 35 of them were killed or died from mistreatment.
June 27, 2012: In the central Somalia town of Baidoa an al Shabaab ambush resulted in three of the Islamic terrorists killed.
June 26, 2012: TNG soldiers and AU (African Union) peacekeepers took control of the al Shabaab held town of Balad, 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu.
June 24, 2012: In northeastern Kenya police have arrested 15 local ethnic Somalis as suspects in several terror attacks using hand grenades.
June 23, 2012: Police in the Kenyan border town of Mandera arrested a Norwegian man (of Somali ancestry) and are questioning him about his activities. A few hours earlier a bomb went off in the town, wounding two policemen.
June 22, 2012: In Kenya police revealed they had arrested two Iranians two days earlier and accused them of planning terror attacks. The two Iranians were assisting al Shabaab terrorists.