1. Big bomb explodes near Somalia's main airport

    Civilians look at the wrecked vehicles at the scene of an explosion in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, Somalia, January 12, 2022
    Image caption: The explosion has caused widespread destruction

    At least eight people have been killed in a bomb blast in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, rescue workers say

    The Islamist militant group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack

    The blast took place on a road by the entrance to a camp for the Somali Air Force which is close to the international airport.

    Witnesses told the AFP news agency that a private security convoy, escorting foreigners, was passing by when the bomb exploded.

    "The blast was so huge that it has destroyed most of the buildings nearby the road and vehicles passing by the area," Hassan Nur said.

    "I saw several dead and wounded people strewn in the road," he added.

  2. Several people killed in blast near Somali airport

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A bomb has exploded in the Somali capital Mogadishu with reports that several people were killed.

    The blast took place on a road by the entrance to a camp for the Somali Air Force which is close to the international airport.

    Although it is not yet clear who was behind the attack, the Islamist militant group Al Shabab frequently carries out suicide bombings.

    Somalia is also in the middle of a political crisis due to a power struggle between the president and prime minister ahead of elections.

  3. US threatens Somalia sanctions over delayed polls

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Somali legislators of the lower house of parliament
    Image caption: Somalia's indirect elections have been marred by delays

    The US State Department has warned Somali leaders against further delays to the indirect parliamentary elections and threatened to impose targeted sanctions, including visa restrictions.

    The US asked the Somali leaders to adhere to the new election timeline and conclude the parliamentary election by 25 February.

    This date was finalised following several days of meetings in Mogadishu between the Somali prime minister and leaders of regional administrations.

    “We call on all of Somalia’s national and federal member state leaders to adhere to the newly agreed timeline and correct the procedural irregularities,” the US State Department said in a press statement.

    The indirect parliamentary elections started in November and were supposed to conclude by 24 December but have been marred by delays due to disputes.

    Only a few dozen of the 275 seats in the lower house have been filled so far.

  4. Somali spy agency snubs order to leave airport - report

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Somalia's spy agency has ignored an order to hand over the security of the country's main airport to the security ministry.

    The agency has instead deployed more security to the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu after the minister's order, privately-owned Caasimada Online reports.

    The recent orders were issued amid an ongoing power struggle between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

    The security minister is an ally of Mr Roble, who, on 27 December, said the army and other security forces should take orders from his office and not the president’s.

    Meanwhile, the spy agency’s acting commander,Yasin Abdullahi Mohamud, is an ally of the president and was appointed to the position despite opposition from the prime minister.

    The website said that the security minister’s orders were also rejected by Western diplomats who live within the airport’s compound, amid concerns for the airport’s security if the especially-trained Nisa agents were removed.

  5. Somalia: Tension high in Mogadishu's streets

    Video content

    Video caption: "Military troops that were against the president are now packed in the city"

    "Military troops that were against the president are now packed in the city and they control some parts of it. This has really caused a lot of fear."

  6. Somaliland arrests Somalia's former deputy PM

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Somalia's former deputy prime minister has been arrested in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

    Mohamed Omar Arte Qalib was arrested at Hargeisa airport and no reason was given.

    Mr Qalib had been in the city for the past few months.

    The former deputy premier had been pardoned by Somaliland President Muse Bihi in October 2020 for opposing Somaliland's independence.

    He resigned as a member of Somalia's parliament in order to be able to visit his ailing father, who later died in Hargeisa.

    President Bihi recently issued an order banning people in the region from participating in the political activities of the Somali government, and warned that those who dare do so would not be pardoned.

  7. Somalia braces for AU troops exit

    Abdi Dahir

    BBC Monitoring

    Amisom troops
    Image caption: The AU mission's mandate ends on 31 December

    Somalia has formed a steering committee of commanders from various security agencies to discuss the imminent takeover of national security from the African Union mission (Amisom).

    Amisom was created in 2007 to help the internationally recognised government in Mogadishu regain control of the country and fight al-Shabab. Countries contributing troops to the mission include Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

    The AU mission's mandate is set to formally end by 31 December, but the UN Security Council might grant it a temporary extension.

    There are fears that the country's security forces are not ready amid regular and deadly attacks by the al-Shabab militant group.

    Government officials including ministers and security commanders attended the meeting aimed at assessing the security progress.

    According to the ministry, the meeting aims to implement "the unified national strategic and political vision" to ensure the transfer of all security responsibilities from Amisom to the Somali Security Forces.

    The government has been holding meetings with AU and UN officials on the matter.

    In October, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council proposed a plan to establish a UN-AU hybrid mission in Somalia to replace Amisom, but this was rejected by the Somali government.

  8. Somali poll body annuls two parliamentary results

    Abdi Dahir

    BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

    The Somali electoral commission has nullified the election results for two parliamentary seats in the South West state after claims of rigging.

    Former parliamentary speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari was blocked from competing for one of the seats whose results were nullified.

    The election implementation team said it was also investigating more cases of election irregularities in the central Galmudug state and would soon make a decision.

    Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble lauded the decision by the election commission to nullify the results for the contentious seats, according to state-owned Somali National TV.

    The opposition presidential candidates have said they will resist the ongoing electoral process in the country.

    The alliance of opposition candidates, which includes two former presidents and a former prime minister, recently said it will boycott and resist the ongoing parliamentary elections in the country, alleging corruption and fraud.

  9. Seven pupils wounded in Somalia blast - principal

    A view shows the debris of a classroom after a car exploded in a suicide attack near Mucassar primary and secondary school in Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia November 25, 2021

    The head of the school in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, that was hit when a suicide bomber blew himself up nearby says that seven students were injured in the blast.

    We had previously quoted a police spokesman who had put the figure at 13.

    "Seven pupils were wounded in the explosion near the school," Yusuf Hussein, the director of Mocaasir school, told the Reuters news agency.

    "Some classrooms were destroyed in the explosion. You can see that some of school and buses were also damaged in the explosion.”

    Police earlier said eight people died and 23, including the pupils, were injured in the attack that has been claimed by the al-Shabab militant group.

    The bomb was targeting a UN convoy.

  10. Somali among the two survivors of Channel boat tragedy

    A Somali was one of the two people who survived the fatal attempt to cross the English Channel that separates the UK from France, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has said.

    The other survivor was from Iraq.

    The two are in a critical condition with severe hypothermia and are being treated in a French hospital.

    At least 27 people drowned on Wednesday as they were trying to make the journey in a small inflatable boat. Their identities are not yet known.

    It's the worst tragedy since the area became a common crossing point for migrants in 2018. Four suspected people smugglers have been arrested.

    Follow our live coverage here.

  11. School pupils injured in Somalia blast - police

    The news agencies have been filing some pictures of the aftermath of this morning's huge blast in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

    The explosion went off near a school and this picture shows the wreckage of a bus alongside other damage to the school's buildings:

    Wrecked school bus

    The remains of a classroom can be seen here:

    School damage

    "We counted eight dead people and 17 others including 13 students injured," the Reuters news agency quotes police spokesman Abdifatah Aden Hassan as saying.

    The militant group al-Shabab said it was behind the attack and targeting UN convoy, the Reuters reports.

    A civilian walks past the wreckages of vehicles and the debris of classrooms after a car exploded in a suicide attack near Mucassar primary and secondary school in Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia November 25
  12. Suicide attack on security convoy in Somalia kills eight

    Abdi Dahir

    BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

    Police officers and people stand at the bomb explosion site in Mogadishu, Somalia, on November 25, 2021.
    Image caption: The blast occurred during the morning rush hour

    Police in Somalia have confirmed the death of eight civilians in a car bombing in the capital Mogadishu, state television has reported.

    Some 17 other people have been wounded, including 13 children from a school near the blast scene.

    An al-Shabab suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden vehicle targeted a convoy of a private security firm, Duguf, which is contracted to protect the UN.

    The police did not say if UN staff were hurt in the attack.

    Local media reports said the blast occurred during the morning rush hour near the busy Kilometre Four junction.

    The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants have confirmed carrying out the attack. Pro-al-Shabab media sources said the militants targeted “white military officers”.

    Al-Shabab frequently targets security forces and government officials in Mogadishu.

  13. Photos of Somalia explosion aftermath

    The director of Mogadishu's Aamin ambulance service, Abdikadir Abdirahman, has shared photos of the aftermath of the morning explosion.

    One of the photos show destroyed school buses of Mocaasir school.

    A security source said students were among those injured.

    Dr Adbdirahman tweeted that the explosion was a "tragedy":

    View more on twitter

    Journalist Harun maruf tweeted photos of classrooms after the explosion:

    View more on twitter
  14. BreakingSomalia capital hit by big explosion

    BBC World Service

    There's been a big explosion in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

    Local news reports say a car bomb targeted an African Union peacekeeping convoy close to a busy junction in the Hodan district in the north-west of the city.

    A nearby school is said to have been badly damaged in the blast.

    Details are still coming in.

  15. Somalia declares state of emergency over drought

    Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the country's worsening drought.

    The declaration came after the prime minister chaired an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

    He called on the Somali people and the international community to help those affected by the drought.

    Severe drought has hit several regions in the country, putting people and animals in dire straits. In some areas, it has killed some people as well as livestock.

    The UN says the drought has been worsened by rains failing for the third time since late 2020.

    Some 3.5 million Somalis are already facing acute food insecurity, according to the UN.

  16. Somali poetry winners announced

    The winners of a UN-backed poetry competition in Somalia have been announced.

    More than 200 entries competed in three categories: Poet of the Year, Woman Poet of the Year and Youth Poet of the Year, which was won by Mubarik Yusuf Dheeg for a poem about humility, kindness and respect.

    View more on twitter

    The Somali Poetry Awards were launched this year by the Home of Somali Poetry initiative with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

    “It is an honour for me to win the top prize," said Mursal Dahir Caynte, who won the overall award.

    Raxma Xuseen Huriye, whose poem appealed for unity and warned of the dangers that come when a society loses its culture and values, said she "was extremely happy" to be named female poet of the year.

    The awards aim to promote Somali poetry, women’s rights and peace-building.

  17. Somali spy agent death: Probe exonerates officials

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Ikran Tahlil
    Image caption: Ikran Tahlil went missing in June

    A team investigating the disappearance and subsequent death of a female Somali spy agent, Ikran Tahlil, has “found no evidence” that senior officials in the National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa) were culpable.

    Tahlil, who worked in the cyber-security department of the Nisa, went missing in June.

    Senior officials at the intelligence agency had been accused of having a hand in her disappearance and alleged death.

    According to the state-owned Somali National TV Gen Abdullahi Bulle Kamey, who was leading the investigation, said the former Nisa chief Fahad Yasin and other officials had been interrogated and the team found no evidence that they were culpable.

    Mr Kamey also said Nisa provided documents containing evidence that al-Shabab kidnapped Tahlil and killed her.

    On 2 September, the spy agency reportedly said Tahlil was killed by al-Shabab after being abducted in Mogadishu. However, al-Shabab denied involvement in her disappearance and supposed death.

    The handling of her case created a political rift between Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.