Somali Prime Minister Urges Scholars to Spearhead Combat Against Khawarij Threats

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mr. Hamsa Abdi Barre, has issued a call to action for Somali scholars, emphasizing their critical role in countering the extremist Khawarij factions.

According to Somali National News Agency, During the commemoration of the second anniversary of Sheikh Abdulqadir Jeylaani’s martyrdom, a distinguished Islamic scholar known for his dedication to the spread and defense of Islam, the Prime Minister lauded Sheikh Jeylaani’s contributions. He highlighted the sheikh’s sacrifices and steadfast commitment to his faith and fellow citizens.

According to Mr. Barre, Somali scholars historically have been at the forefront during times of national peril, leading the defense efforts. “When the country was in danger, those who took up arms were Somali scholars who led the people in defending their country. Today our people and our religion are attacked by Khawarij, and scholars must take their role in leading the fight against Khawarij,” he said.

Further, the Prime Minister assured the audience that the government is ready to back religious institutions and scholars to dismantle the extreme ideologies and the violent acts propagated by the Khawarij groups.

The event witnessed the presence of the Deputy Speaker of the House of the People, representatives from both chambers of government, religious leaders, and various community members.

Somali Interior Minister Calls for Halt to Clan Violence Aggravated by Al-Shabaab

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The government of Somalia has issued a decisive call for cessation of the ongoing clan violence across multiple regions, attributing the escalation in part to the extremist group Al-Shabaab.

According to Somali National News Agency, who spoke at a press conference in Mogadishu, the government has condemned the violence that has claimed lives in Dhusamareeb, where a significant number of casualties resulted from clashes over land disputes. The minister decried these events as contrary to the principles of Islam, nationalism, and the dignity of Somalia, calling on the conflicting parties to resolve their issues peacefully.

Highlighting additional conflicts in Xanaan Buuro and the Mudug region, Minister Fiqi pointed to disputes over grazing lands and water sources as the impetus for these armed confrontations. He squarely accused Al-Shabaab of exacerbating clan tensions and orchestrating violence through clan militias, an element of their broader strategy to destabilize the region.

In response, the minister outlined the government’s commitment to restoring order and advancing their ongoing military efforts against Al-Shabaab. He urged regional governments, including those of Galmudug, Puntland, and Hirshabelle, to engage in immediate reconciliation efforts and pledged the federal government’s support in these endeavors.

Concluding his remarks, Fiqi reaffirmed the Somali government’s resolve to back any clan reconciliation initiatives that oppose Al-Shabaab, a group that continues to maintain a foothold in various parts of the country.

Majority of Kenyan Workers Lack Formal Retirement Savings, Reports RBA

Nairobi — An official from the Retirement Benefit Authority (RBA) has revealed that 74% of Kenya’s population does not have a formal saving scheme for retirement. This statistic was highlighted during a public forum addressing proposed policy changes to the Retirement Benefits Act and Regulations.

According to Kenya News Agency, Assistant Director of Research Strategy and Planning at RBA, the authority is advocating for a stronger saving culture among Kenyans to address the significant deficit in retirement planning. Since the RBA’s inception in 1997, only 3.2 million active members have been registered with retirement schemes.

A January report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) pointed out that approximately 13.9 million Kenyans are without any retirement savings, with a majority employed within the informal sector. The report warns of a looming crisis, suggesting that a large portion of the population may face poverty in retirement.

In response to this, RBA, with assets totaling Sh 1.7 trillion and oversight of 1,076 registered schemes, proposes regulatory revisions to enable more efficient collection of workers’ savings. Key recommendations include enlisting the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to assist in gathering outstanding contributions.

The proposed legislative changes aim to extend the period for tax-exempt pension benefits from 10 to 20 years, potentially increasing the tax-free limit from Sh 600,000 to account for inflation and enhance retirees’ income. Additionally, adjustments to the Income Tax Act are suggested to raise the tax-exempt threshold for retirement annuities from Sh 300,000 to Sh 456,000, reflecting the current economic climate and inflation trends.

Arwings expressed hope to KNA that these changes would be embraced by the public and further encourage participation in regulated saving schemes. The RBA has been conducting public outreach across various counties, including Machakos, Uasin Gishu, Mombasa, and Nairobi, with plans to engage all 47 counties.

The RBA, operational since 2000, was established by an act of Parliament three years prior, marking the formation of Kenya’s first authoritative body to manage worker retirement benefits.

Egyptian Natural Gas Imports from Israel Halted Amid Conflict

CAIRO: The Egyptian government has announced an abrupt halt in its imports of natural gas from Israel, with import levels dropping from 800 million cubic feet per day to zero.

According to Africa News Agency, the cessation of the natural gas flow from Israel comes in the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. The specifics of why the imports have been disrupted were not provided by the officials.

Kisumu Community Leaders Urge Formation of Security Groups Amidst Rising Crime

Kisumu, Kenya — Community leaders in Kisumu County are calling for urgent action to combat rising insecurity, including the formation of vigilante or community security groups.

According to Kenya News Agency, Mr. Benson Adega, there has been a disturbing increase in thefts and gangster activities, particularly in Mamboleo. The local residents are concerned about the escalating crime rates, highlighted by a recent robbery at an MPESA shop that resulted in fatal consequences. This incident, as Adega highlighted, took place in close proximity to a police post, causing dismay among the populace.

Adega has reached out to the police leadership and Dr. Raymond Omollo, the PS Interior, to take decisive action against the surge of robberies and criminal activities affecting many parts of Kisumu County. In addition to law enforcement measures, Adega also urged provincial administration members to consider the establishment of local vigilante groups to supplement the efforts of the police in safeguarding the community.

The call to form vigilante groups comes as a response to the apparent helplessness of residents when faced with armed thieves, indicating a pressing need for community-led initiatives to bolster security in the county.