News / Africa

    New President of Puntland Vows to Fight Lack of Security

    FILE - President of Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.
    FILE - President of Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.
    Reuters
    Parliament narrowly elected former prime minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali as president of Puntland on Wednesday, backing his campaign against corruption and insecurity in the relatively peaceful Somali region.
     
    At the tip of the Horn of Africa and with a third of Somalia's population of about 10 million, the semi-autonomous Puntland spans the north of Somalia and has largely escaped the worst of the country's upheaval of the last 20 years.
     
    Somalia's central government and foreign powers advocating a loose federal political system in Somalia have held Puntland up as a possible model, having avoided the worst of a seven-year insurgency fought by militants seeking to impose a strict interpretation of sharia law.
     
    But acts of violence have risen, the latest of which killed seven people in a car bomb attack on an armed convoy escorting foreigners working for a company training local security forces, on Dec. 5 in Bosasso, a coastal city.
     
    The authorities and Western diplomats are concerned al-Shabab may seek to strengthen ties with al-Qaida cells in Yemen, over the narrow Gulf of Aden.
     
    Saciid Hassan Shire, the speaker for Puntland's parliament, declared Ali, an economist, the president-elect with 33 votes against outgoing leader Abdirahman Sheik Mohamed Farole who got 32 votes in a run-off during the third round of voting by deputies.
     
    “I promise progress and peace for Puntland in the coming five years, let's all work together in improving the security and development,” Ali, a former prime minister for Somalia, said after his victory.
     
    The United States congratulated Ali on his election and praised Farole for his commitment to holding the elections in a timely and peaceful manner.
     
    “The United States views this election as a hopeful step towards a strengthened federal state for Somalia. We encourage both the new Puntland Administration and the Federal Government of Somalia to work together to outline a path forward for Puntland to join the federal system,” Will Stevens, the State Department's Africa spokesman said in a statement.
     
    “We welcome President Ali's commitment to continue progress toward democratization, and to promote the rights and well-being of Puntland's residents,” he said.
     
    During the campaign, Ali accused Farole of corruption and failing to curb insecurity. Farole has denied the allegations.
     
    Farole told Reuters last year the number of al-Shabab militants in the region had risen after African troops drove them out of their southern strongholds.
     
    Michele Cervone d'Urso, the EU special envoy to Somalia who attended the vote, said it had set a benchmark for peaceful elections for the rest of Somalia.
     
    “The election is a positive for the democratization process. Now the president-elect can focus on defusing tensions between the different group of supporters,” he told Reuters.
     
    The region, roughly one-third of Somalia's geographical area, is believed to be rich in undeveloped energy resources and is being sized up by oil explorers.
     
    Ali is yet to make his views on the oil exploration in the region public. Farole had said he would not allow Mogadishu to award oil contracts to foreign firms.
     
    “It is hoped that he will fight al-Shababin an effort to tighten security,” Hussein Abdirahman, a history lecturer at Mogadishu University's branch in Bosasso told Reuters.
     
    “Being an economist, people hope he will also improve economy and political ties with the federal government.”

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.