More than 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are suffering famine conditions, with millions more at risk, according to an analysis by UN agencies and aid groups that blamed conflict for the worst food crisis in a decade.“There is famine now in Tigray,” the UN aid chief, Mark Lowcock, said on Thursday after the release of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis.“The number of people in famine conditions … is higher than anywhere in the world, at any moment since a quarter million Somalis lost their lives in 2011,” Lowcock said.
Most of the 5.5 million people in Tigray need food aid. Fighting broke out in the region in November between government troops and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
The violence has killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 2 million from their homes in the mountainous region.Ethiopia rejects calls for ceasefire in Tigray, claiming victory is nearThe most extreme warning by the IPC – a scale used by UN agencies, regional bodies and aid groups to determine food insecurity – is phase 5, which starts with a catastrophe warning and rises to a declaration of famine in a region.The IPC said more than 350,000 people in Tigray are in phase 5 catastrophe.
This means households are experiencing famine conditions, but less than 20% of the population is affected and deaths and malnutrition have not reached famine thresholds.“This severe crisis results from the cascading effects of conflict, including population displacements, movement restrictions, limited humanitarian access, loss of harvest and livelihood assets, and dysfunctional or non-existent markets,” the IPC analysis found.For famine to be declared, at least 20% of the population must be suffering extreme food shortages, with one in three children acutely malnourished and two people out of every 10,000 dying daily from starvation or from malnutrition and disease.“If the conflict further escalates or, for any other reason, humanitarian assistance is hampered, most areas of Tigray will be at risk of famine,” according to the IPC, which added that even if aid deliveries are stepped up, the situation is expected to worsen through September.
The Ethiopian government disputed the IPC analysis, saying food shortages are not severe and aid is being delivered.Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told a news conference on Thursday that the government was providing food aid and help to farmers in Tigray.“They [diplomats] are comparing it with the 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia,” he said. “That is not going to happen.”Mituku Kassa, the head of Ethiopia’s National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee, said on Wednesday: “We don’t have any food shortage.”The Nobel committee should resign over the atrocities in TigrayBut the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said a humanitarian nightmare was unfolding.“This is not the kind of disaster that can be reversed,” she said. Referring to a previous famine in Ethiopia that killed more than 1 million people, she said: “We cannot make the same mistake twice. We cannot let Ethiopia starve.
We have to act now.”The World Food Programme executive director, David Beasley, said that to stop hunger from killing millions of people in Tigray, there needed to be a ceasefire, unimpeded aid access and more money to expand aid operations.According to notes of a meeting of UN agencies on Monday, the IPC analysis could be worse as “they did not include those in Amhara-controlled areas” in western Tigray.
When it comes to weddings, Somalia has many approaches. Some couples stick with tradition while others go for more modern marriage ceremonies.
This film tells the story of two weddings, one in a small desert village and the other in a busy city, while highlighting everyday life in different parts of the country. It also contrasts traditional ways of life with modern ideas that come from younger Somalis and social media.
In the remote rural village of Toon, herder Jamalli Muhammad Ahmed can only marry a local woman called Hoda after first getting permission from her family. In a tradition going back generations, they all gather in the shade of a large tree to decide whether they are a suitable match. Only then can Jamalli and Hoda start planning their lives together.
Jamalli and Hoda’s wedding followed traditional Somali customs [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
Abdullatif Deeq Omar in Hargeisa city, however, first met his future wife Najma on Facebook. They eloped but eventually returned to their families who accepted their marriage plans.
Abdullatif and Najma’s ceremony was in the city of Hargeisa [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
Both weddings have the same pressures: buying outfits, inviting guests, finding a venue and arranging feasts – but each tells a unique story of family, community and tradition.
In Somali culture, many people also believe that getting married in the run-up to Ramadan ensures additional blessings on the couple, making the happy occasion even more special.
Ethiopia admits shooting down Kenya aid aircraft in Somalia The plane had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus.
09 May 2020 GMT+3 Ethiopia on Saturday admitted it was behind the shooting down of a privately owned Kenyan plane in Somalia earlier this week, resulting in the deaths of all six people on board. The plane was shot down on Monday by Ethiopian troops protecting a camp in the town of Bardale in southwestern Somalia, the Ethiopian army said in a statement to the African Union (AU). More: Six killed as plane carrying coronavirus aid crashes in Somalia Anger in Mogadishu after police kill civilian in COVID-19 curfew Somali state minister dies from coronavirus The aircraft had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus when it went down in Bardale, about 300km (180 miles) northwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. The Ethiopian soldiers mistakenly believed the plane was on a “potential suicide mission” because they had not been informed about the “unusual flight” and the aircraft was flying low, the statement said. “Because of lack of communication and awareness, the aircraft was shot down,” the military said. “The incident … will require mutual collaborative investigation team from Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to further understand the truth.” Kenya expressed shock over the incident earlier this week, saying the plane’s mission had been to aid Somalia in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
Soldiers from Ethiopia and Kenya are among those deployed to Somalia as part of an AU peacekeeping mission to fight the armed group al-Shabab. The shooting down of the plane comes amid strained ties between Kenya and Somalia. Last month, Kenya accused Somali troops of an “unwarranted attack” across its border near Mandera, a northern outpost town, describing the incident as a provocation. Somalia, meanwhile, has long accused its larger neighbour of meddling in its internal affairs, something Kenya has denied.
Bihi, Farmajo Meeting To Feature In Ethiopia PM’s Talks
14th February 2020
The expansion of the Somaliland Port of Berbera and the meeting between Somaliland and Somalia leaders will be among the discussions points between Ethiopia Prime Minister Aby Ahmed and the United Arab Emirates leadership this weekend.
Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed landed in Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening for a round of talks with the hosting government over trade partnerships and efforts to find peace in the horn of Africa.
Abiy was received at the Presidential Airport by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.
Sheikh Abdullah welcomed Abiy and discussed relations and co-operation between the two countries and ways to tackle issues of mutual interest.
Abiy is accompanied by his wife, Zinash Tayachew, Dr Hirut Kassaw, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Adanech Abebe, Minister of Revenues, and Muferiat Kamil, Ethiopian Minister of Peace.
Ethiopia and the UAE have partnered with Somaliland in the expansion of the port of Berbera which once completed will be the biggest in the region.
UAE’s DP World is expanding the port at a cost of USD 442 Million and is also expected to set up an economic free zone complement the growth of the Port of Berbera as a regional trading hub.
Somalia has been against the expansion of the port claiming Somaliland has no right to enter any international agreements.
Somaliland separated from Somalia in 1991 and declared its own independence. The two countries have been at loggerheads since then.
But early this week, the Ethiopian Prime Minister brokered a meeting between Somaliland president Musa Bihi and Somali president Abdullahi Farmajo in Addis Ababa, talks that lasted for an hour.
Ethiopia and the UAE believe that a lasting solution between Somalia and Somaliland is vital for their interests in the horn of Africa.
This is Abiy’s second trip to UAE in less than one year.
UAE was one of the Gulf nations Abiy visited last year as part of pooling regional support, especially for economic reforms. The Crown Prince also visited Addis Ababa in 2018.
Ethiopia – UAE relations have been on an upward trajectory over the course of 2018.
Over the last decade, the UAE has gradually increased its presence in the Horn of Africa, using development and humanitarian projects to boost its prominence.
It has significantly invested in ports, logistics and trade developments, to secure its port empire across the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait by the Red Sea, to profoundly boost its international trade and regional soft power.
The Emirati-owned company DP World’s opening of a port in Djibouti in 2008 signalled a developing presence in the relatively then-untouched Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia has served as a key platform for growing UAE influence, where Abu Dhabi alongside Saudi Arabia helped broker a peace deal with Eritrea, after a two-year state of war between the two states.
It has since continued to shower Ethiopia with aid, also carrying out key development projects. The UAE had also built an oil pipeline between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Emirati companies have increased investment particularly in Ethiopia.
Such moves are also an attempt to compete with Turkey, Iran and Qatar, whose increasingly positive ties with east African states are met with unease by Abu Dhabi.
A setback for the UAE’s political ambitions in the Horn of Africa, however, are its ties with Somalia who have grown closer to Turkey, a key Emirati rival.
In response, the UAE has focused its support on Somalia’s autonomous regions.
The UAE and Ethiopia last February agreed to cooperate to turn Somaliland into a “major regional trading hub,” which helps the UAE’s ally Ethiopia gain greater trading access, and subsequently boost the UAE’s own trading and economic capabilities.
Furthermore, its alliance with Ethiopia, which also invests in Somaliland’s Berbera port, has helped the UAE gain greater control over it.
The UAE has also attempted to build a military and naval base in Somaliland.
Located among the bush covered hills on the eastern side of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia, the Hamar tribe have unique culture and customs, one of them being a cattle-jumping ceremony where the beatings of the women take place.
The ceremony starts with all the female relatives performing a dance, during which they offer themselves as subjects to be whipped by men who have recently been initiated.
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The beatings go on until their backs turn bloody. During the beatings, women are not allowed to scream. They do not also flee the ceremony but rather beg the men to beat them over and over again.
The male initiation rite
The women accept these beatings to show their love and support of the initiate, and their scars give them a right to demand his help in time of need.
The man must subsequently leap across 15 cows in order to be allowed to marry and once that is achieved a celebration is held to end the ceremony.
Beatings are not just ceremonial
Women in the Hamar tribe are subject to beatings even after the ceremony at any time the man pleases unless they give birth to at least two children.
The rules of the tribe also say that men do not need to explain why they are beating the women as they can do so as and when they feel is right.
This has created deep scars at the backs of the women which they proudly show off as beautiful.
Hamar tribe — Depositphotos
In spite of these, women in the Hamar tribe are expected to be strong like the men and are supposed to do all household chores, take care of the children and sow crops as well as keep the cattle.
Hamar men can also marry more than one woman, but the women who are not first wives are treated more like slaves as they do a majority of the work
The Isaaq (also Isaq, Ishaak, Isaac) (Somali: Reer Sheekh Isaxaaq, Arabic: بني إسحاق) is a Somali clan. It is one of the major Somali clans in the Horn of Africa, with a large and densely populated traditional territory.
The tomb of Sheikh Ishaaq, the founding father of the Isaaq clan, in Maydh, Sanaag
According to some genealogical books and Somali tradition, the Isaaq clan was founded in the 13th or 14th century with the arrival of Sheikh Ishaaq Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Hashimi (Sheikh Ishaaq) from Arabia, a descendant of Ali ibn Abi Talib in Maydh. He settled in the coastal town of Maydh in modern-day northwestern Somaliland, where he married into the local Magaadle clan.
There are also numerous existing hagiologies in Arabic which describe Sheikh Ishaaq’s travels, works and overall life in modern Somaliland, as well as his movements in Arabia before his arrival. Besides historical sources, one of the more recent printed biographies of Sheikh Ishaaq is the Amjaad of Sheikh Husseen bin Ahmed Darwiish al-Isaaqi as-Soomaali, which was printed in Aden in 1955.
Sheikh Ishaaq’s tomb is in Maydh, and is the scene of frequent pilgrimages. Sheikh Ishaaq’s mawlid (birthday) is also celebrated every Thursday with a public reading of his manaaqib (a collection of glorious deeds). His Siyaara or pilgrimage is performed annually both within Somaliland and in the diaspora particularly in the Middle East among Isaaq expatriates.
Haggenmacher’s map depicting western Isaaq territory
The Isaaq have a very wide and densely populated traditional territory. They live in all 6 regions of Somaliland such as Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sahil, Sanaag and Sool. They have large settlements in the Somali region of Ethiopia, mainly on the eastern side of Somali region also known as the Hawd and formerly Reserve Area which is mainly inhabited by the Isaaq sub-clan members. They also have large settlements in both Kenya and Djibouti, making up a large percentage of the Somali population in these 2 countries respectively.
The Isaaq clan played a prominent role in the Abyssinian-Adal war (1529–1543, referred to as the “Conquest of Abyssinia”) in the army of Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, I. M. Lewis noted that only the Habr Magadle division (Ayoub, Garhajis, Habr Awal and Arap) of the Isaaq were mentioned in chronicles of that war written by Shihab Al-Din Ahmad Al-Gizany known as Futuh Al Habash.
The Marrehan and the Habr Magadle [Magādi] also play a very prominent role (…) The text refers to two Ahmads’s with the nickname ‘Left-handed’. One is regularly presented as ‘Ahmad Guray, the Somali’ (…) identified as Ahmad Guray Xuseyn, chief of the Habr Magadle. Another reference, however, appears to link the Habr Magadle with the Marrehan. The other Ahmad is simply referred to as ‘Imam Ahmad’ or simply the ‘Imam’.This Ahmad is not qualified by the adjective Somali (…) The two Ahmad’s have been conflated into one figure, the heroic Ahmed Guray (…)
Sultans of the Isaaq clan in Hargeisa, Somaliland
The first of the tribes to reach Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi were Habr Magādle of the Isaaq clan with their chieftain Ahmad Gurey Bin Hussain Al-Somali, the Somali commander was noted to be one of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi’s “strongest and most able generals”. The Habr Magādle clan were highly appreciated and praised by the leader Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi for their bravery and loyalty.Dervish Commander Haji Sudi on the left with his brother in-law Duale Idris (1892).
Long after the collapse of Adal Sultanate, sub-clans of the Isaaq established successor states known as Garhajis Sultanates. These two Sultanates exerted a somewhat centralized authority (relative to other clans) during its existence, and possessed some of the organs and trappings of a traditional integrated state: a functioning bureaucracy, regular taxation in the form of livestock, as well as an army (chiefly consisting of mounted light cavalry). These sultanates also maintained written records of their activities, which still exist.
The Isaaq clan along with other northern Somali tribes were under British Somaliland protectorate administration from 1884 to 1960. On gaining independence, the Somaliland protectorate decided to form a union with Italian Somalia. The Isaaq clan spearheaded the greater Somalia quest from 1960 to 1991.
During the Somali Civil War, the Isaaq were subjected to a genocidal campaign by Siad Barre‘s troops (which also included armed Somali refugees from Ethiopia); the death toll has been estimated to be between 50,000 and 200,000.
Historically (and presently to a degree), the wider Isaaq clan were relatively more disposed to trade than their tribal counterparts due in part to their centuries old trade links with the Arabian Peninsula. In view of this imbalance in mercantile experience, other major Somali clans tended to resort to tribal slang terms such as “iidoor”, an enviable pejorative roughly meaning trader/exchanger:
Somalis bandied about numerous stereotypes of clan behavior that mirrored these emerging social inequalities. The pejorative slang terms iidoor or kabadhe iidoora (loosely meaning “exchange”) reflect Somali disdain for the go-between, the person who amasses wealth through persistence and mercantile skills without firm commitments to anyone else. As the Isaaq became more international and cosmopolitan, their commercial success and achievement ideology aroused suspicion and jealousy, notably among rural Darod who disliked Isaaq self-confidence and made them the target of stereotypes.
This was not lost on the sole president and dictator of the Somali Democratic Republic (1969–1991), Siad Barre, Who disliked the Isaaq clan due to their financial independence, thus making it harder to control them:
Siyaad had a deep and personal dislike for the clan. The real reasons can only be guessed at, but in part it was due to his inability to control them. As accomplished business operatives, they had built a society that was not dependant on government largesse. The Isaaq had traditional trade relationships with the nations of the Arabian Peninsula that continued despite the attempts of the government to center all economic activity in Mogadishu. Siyaad did what he could, however, and Isaaq traders were forced to make the long trip to Mogadishu for permits and licenses.
Nevertheless, in the 1970s and 1980s, nearly all of the livestock exports went out through the port of Berbera via Isaaq livestock traders. The entire livestock exports accounted to upwards of 90% of the Somali Republic’s entire export figures in a given year, and Berbera’s exports alone provided over 75% of the nation’s recorded foreign currency income at the time.
In the Isaaq clan-family, component clans are divided into two uterine divisions, as shown in the genealogy. The first division is between those lineages descended from sons of Sheikh Ishaaq by a Harari woman – the Habr Habuusheed – and those descended from sons of Sheikh Ishaaq by a Somali woman of the Magaadle sub-clan of the Dir – the Habr Magaadle. Indeed, most of the largest clans of the clan-family are in fact uterine alliances hence the matronymic “Habr” which in archaic Somali means “mother”. This is illustrated in the following clan structure.Warriors of the Habr Awal clan
A. Habr Magaadle
Abdirahman (Habr Awal)
B. Habr Habuusheed
Ahmed (Tol Je’lo)
Muuse (Habr Je’lo)
Dualeh Abdi of the Musa Abokor Habr Je’lo tribe photographed in 1890
There is clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures that has not changed for a long time. The oldest recorded genealogy of a Somali in Western literature was by Sir Richard Burton in the mid–19th century regarding his Isaaq (Habr Yunis) host and the governor of Zeila, Sharmarke Ali Saleh
The following listing is taken from the World Bank‘s Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom’s Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.
Jama Mohamed Ghalib, former Police Commissioner of the Somali Democratic Republic, Secretary of Interior, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Minister of Transportation, and Minister of Interior.
Mo Farah, British 4 time Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated athlete in British athletics history.
Mohammed Abdillahi Kahin ‘Ogsadey’, A Somali business tycoon based in Ethiopia, where he established MAO Harar Horse, the first African corporation to export coffee and amassed a net worth of approximately $3 Billion Ethiopian Birr.
Rageh Omaar, Somali-British journalist and writer. He used to be a BBC world affairs correspondent, In September 2006, he moved to a new post at Al Jazeera English, and as of 2017 is currently with ITV News
Umar Arteh Ghalib, former Prime Minister of Somalia 1991–1993. Brought Somalia into the Arab League in 1974 during his term Foreign Minister of Somalia from 1969 to 1977. Former president of UN Security Council, teacher and poet