Arab Today, arab today firing squads blast walls in somalia
Last Updated : GMT 12:57:34
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Firing squads, blast walls in Somalia

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Firing squads, blast walls in Somalia

Somali security forces guard the entrance to the Central Hotel
Mogadishu - AFP

A navy flak jacket over his sky-blue shirt, Neil Wigan peered through the bulletproof glass window at six uneven wooden poles in front of a sand dune.
"There are more of them now," the British ambassador to Somalia said, driving past the execution posts that convicts are tied to before being shot by firing squad. "It isn't a particularly reassuring sign of progress."
Violence is routine in Somalia, whether perpetrated by suicide bombers, jihadists, assassins, soldiers or the judiciary. Chronic insecurity makes the country a study in diplomacy at its most difficult.
Wigan, 44, is Britain's first resident ambassador to the Horn of Africa country since it collapsed in a hail of gun and rocket fire in 1991. A new embassy opened in April 2013 "inside the wire" of Mogadishu airport's relatively secure compound.
Diplomacy succeeds or fails on the strength of relationships, so on a recent Wednesday morning Wigan drove into Mogadishu in his convoy of B6-level armoured SUVs accompanied by ex-British military bodyguards wearing earpieces and carrying M4 carbines and pistols.
"There's a real threat from Shebab," said Wigan, referring to the Al-Qaeda-aligned militants who launch regular attacks on the Somali government and its foreign backers. "We're constantly deciding whether a particular meeting is worth the risk."
"Security is as good as we can make it while still doing our jobs," he said.
- Political crisis -
Somalia has yet another new government, appointed in early February, and Wigan was eager to get to know them.
That day he visited Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte who will work with foreign donors on a multi-billion euro plan known as the New Deal Compact.
"This is a courtesy call. There's a lot of new people we don't really know," Wigan told AFP on the way to the meeting at Villa Somalia, the fortified government quarter that was attacked by jihadist suicide bombers and gunmen twice in 2014.
The Deputy PM's office was a classic example of Somali bureaucracy chic: vases of plastic flowers, overstuffed pleather armchairs, flat-screen televisions and a scrum of assistants, advisors and hangers-on.
"The British government is a strong supporter of Somalia," Wigan told Arte, a rangy man with rimless glasses and a neat goatee. "But to be honest we've been frustrated by the political crisis."
Arte's boss is the third prime minister Wigan has seen in the last 18-months, as political infighting stalls the constitutional changes needed before elections planned for September 2016.
"Each time we have to start again to get the things we care about back on track," Wigan said after the half-hour meeting.
Arte and Wigan did not agree on everything but positions were staked out and priorities listed. As Wigan left he told Arte, "We wish you luck – it's a tough job."
"It is, it is," the minister replied.
Two days later, while attending Friday prayers at the nearby Central Hotel, Arte was injured in a Shebab suicide attack that killed at least 25 people.
- Somalia's Green Zone -
When not meeting the Somali government on its own turf, Wigan does the rounds of Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia's version of Iraq's Green Zone.
The four-square kilometre (1.5 square mile) base is a bizarre expatriate ecosystem of muscled and tattooed private security contractors, ambitious young diplomats, jaded aid workers, furtive spies, uniformed soldiers and businessmen with an unusually high risk threshold.
It is encircled by blast barriers and razor wire and defended by African Union soldiers. It is the safest place in the city, yet on Christmas Day Shebab gunmen launched a 36-hour assault that left nine AU soldiers and three foreign contractors dead.
Britain's chunk of the airport is 100 square metres (1,100 square feet) of well-defended beachfront between the runway and the sea.
Like a Wild West fort, it has four blast barrier walls set back 20-metres (22-yards) from an outer perimeter with an observation tower on each corner manned by Ugandan private security guards armed with AK47 assault rifles and belt-fed PKM machine guns.
"The embassy is designed to withstand an attack," said Wigan. "On Christmas Day the team carried on having lunch while a complex attack was going on 200 yards away."
The airport seafront is sought after real estate with the European Union, France and Italy all building embassies.
Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have embassies in town, and China has occupied the top floor of a hotel, but Britain did not consider returning to its abandoned former embassy.
The old whitewashed Italianate building sits on a busy road, its facade bullet-pocked and its courtyard full of squatters.
"In most places there was an existing embassy but this was a blank sheet of paper. We started with security and then added the extras," said Wigan.
The extras include a gym, the 'Club Mog' bar and outside space with pot plants, hammocks, garden furniture and a game called Cornhole that involves tossing beanbags at a board with a hole cut in it.
After work, embassy staff do punishing circuit training with the ex-soldiers or stroll along the breezy beachfront with the embassy's adopted street-dogs, Max and Vespa.
Although sequestered at the airport Wigan said "a full-time presence" is preferable to commuting from Nairobi, like most ambassadors and UN officials.
"Our depth of engagement and our ability to get stuff done is much greater," he said.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today firing squads blast walls in somalia Arab Today, arab today firing squads blast walls in somalia

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today 11 family members dead in rebel push

GMT 07:57 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

11 family members dead in rebel push
Arab Today, arab today To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 10:08 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 21:05 2017 Wednesday ,25 January

8 Killed in Attack on Mogadishu Hotel

GMT 15:06 2017 Wednesday ,25 January

At Least 18 People Killed in Twin Car Bombing

GMT 01:25 2017 Tuesday ,03 January

2 explosions reported outside Mogadishu airport

GMT 09:58 2016 Thursday ,29 December

Al Shabaab recaptures town after SNA

GMT 14:44 2016 Saturday ,24 December

At Least 7 People Killed On Minibus Attack in S. Somalia

GMT 03:18 2016 Friday ,16 December

Suicide Car Bomb Explodes in Mogadishu

GMT 23:24 2016 Sunday ,11 December

Huge blast rocks Mogadishu port area
View News in Arabic - Country: الصومال
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today 63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing

GMT 06:34 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 14:51 2017 Monday ,20 February

Ways to acquire presentation skills

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday