Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Somalia violence reaches new proportions

May 1, 2010

Today, two powerful bombs tore through a mosque in the heart of Mogadishu, killing dozens of people and opening up a new front of violence that had been limited, for the most part at least, to Iraq and Pakistan, where attacks on mosques and markets are a regular occurrence. Although in this case, the forces fighting for “resistance” (Al-Shabaab and Hizbul-Islam) are targeting each other…instead of innocent Shiite worshipers. A senior leader of Al-Shabaab was supposedly addressing his supporters at the mosque when the bombs went off. From what I have seen so far, the attacks do not appear to be suicide bombings, although Somalia has been faced with several of them. Last week, Al-Shabaab dispatched a suicide car bomber to an African Union Base, claiming it was revenge for the killings of Masri and Baghadi, Al-Qaeda’s two top leaders in Iraq.

Here’s the story about the attacks:

More than 45 people including Al Shabaab insurgents were killed and 100 others wounded in an Iraq-style twin bombing inside a mosque in Somalia’s restive capital Mogadishu, witnesses and security officials told Garowe Online.

Witnesses said the bombs went off shortly after the afternoon prayers inside the Abdalla Shideye Mosque in Bakara Market, a stronghold for the insurgent group, Al Shabaab.

“The explosions were big and occurred inside the Mosque. The place turned dark with huge black smoke everywhere the mosque. I saw several dead and injured people,” said eyewitness Abdinasir Ahmed.

He added that at the time of the explosion, a senior commander of Al Shabaab named Sheikh Fuad Mohamed Shongole was delivering a sermon to the mosque’s congregants.

Ali Muse of Mogadishu Ambulance Service said they have assisted “over 100” wounded people, and some are in critical condition.

Sheikh Ali Mohammed Rage, Al Shabaab’s spokesman, blamed “foreign mercenaries” for the blasts.

Unsurprisingly, Shabaab’s leaders are pointing the finger at “foreign mercenaries” for this attack. At least its not as ridiculous as the claims by some people in the Arab world and American leftists/right-wing isolationists that the CIA is responsible for the car bombings in Iraq.

Africa builds a new foundation

March 5, 2010

There is good news in the world, according to an editorial that appeared in Pakistan’s DAWN Newspaper. It’s nice to report this, especially in light of the Chilean earthquake and its zone of destruction. However, this good news is on the other side of the Atlantic.

An evening in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city

Africa’s Poverty level is falling, ushering in what could become a new chapter for the continent. While ongoing rebel attacks in Somalia and resurgent violence in Darfur continue to lead the headlines, its possible that the major players in a developing Africa, like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa,  will follow in the footsteps of India and Brazil, which are becoming more and more prominent on the international stage.

This was published in the DAWN Newspaper on Friday. I wanted to post it because the world needs to hear good news right now.

Africa’s Poverty Rate is Falling:

By Larry Elliott

FOR decades, it has been seen as the world’s lost continent. Now, a new study says that the view of Africa as a basket case is wrong.

As the continent prepares to welcome thousands of international football fans for the World Cup in June, it seems the image of an economically vibrant region the hosts are keen to project is closer to the truth than tired stereotypes suggest.

Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Maxim Pinkovskiy, two US-based academics, find that in the 10 years before the credit crunch began, poverty rates fell rapidly and inequality declined right across the continent.

They say that it is time to stop feeling so gloomy about the prospects for Africa, which they claim may meet the Millennium Development Goal target, of halving the number of people living on $1 a day, ahead of the 2015 deadline.

“Our results show that the conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong. In fact, since 1995, African poverty has been falling steadily,” the authors say. “Moreover, contrary to the commonly held idea that African growth is largely based on natural resources and helps only the rich and well-connected, we show that a great deal of this growth has accrued to the poor.”

The findings in the report, published by America’s National Bureau of Economic Research, contradict the views of the World Bank and the United Nations, which established the millennium goals in 1990.

Hopefully the work cited by these two authors is true. Its time for Africa to join ranks with the industrialized world, since its people are so hardworking and in many cases, are essential in today’s global economy. Earlier, I picked up a copy of Homeland by George Obama…where the President’s brother shares his stories of life in Nairobi’s slums. Maybe the children who are living there now will have a future where their country transforms itself.