At least three people are dead following an outbreak of inter-communal violence in Djibouti. Fighting erupted in several areas between members of the Afar ethnic group, which straddles Djibouti’s borders with Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Issa, the country’s other main ethnicity, which is a sub-group of the Somali people and straddles the borders with Ethiopia and Somalia. Issa protesters blocked the rail line and road connecting Djibouti’s port to Ethiopia, a key artery for the landlocked Horn of Africa giant. The violence came in response to a deadly attack on Somali Issa civilians four days earlier within Ethiopia. Fighters from Ethiopia’s Afar region raided the town of Gedamaytu (also known as Gabraiisa) in neighboring Somali region, reportedly killing hundreds of residents. The two regions have long been at odds over three contested kebeles (districts) on their shared border, which are predominately inhabited by Issa but located within the regional boundaries of Afar. (Map: ISS Africa)
The United Arab Emirates announced that it is ending its military training program in Somalia, as the governments of Abu Dhabi and Mogadishu trade charges back and forth. Tensions between the two governments have been on the rise over Emirati plans to build a military base in Somaliland, the self-declared republic that is effectively independent from Mogadishu. The UAE has trained hundreds of troops since 2014 for the weak and fractious Mogadishu government. But Mogadishu sees establishment of a foreign base at Somaliland's port of Berbera as a move toward recognition of the breakaway republic, calling it a "clear violation of international law." (Map: Somalia Country Profile)
Somalis who captured an oil tanker later released it with no ransom paid, and said they had seized it to protest toxic waste dumping and over-fishing in their waters.
As China establishes its first foreign military base at Djibouti, rumors have Beijing seeking a second base in Namibia—where Chinese uranium interests face labor unrest.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution renewing its international call for all able states to provide military forces to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia.
In addition to the naval face-off over a global oil outlet, the Persian Gulf has seen escalating militarization by international forces in the guise of narcotics enforcement.
The International Maritime Bureau hailed progress against Somali pirates, but urged the world’s navies to keep up the pressure—and warned of growing piracy off West Africa.
Drug trafficking and violent crime in Central America and the Caribbean threaten the rule of law in those regions, according to a report by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime.
A US court in Virginia sentenced convicted Somali pirate negotiator Mohammad Shibin to a dozen life sentences for piracy, hostage taking, kidnapping, conspiracy, and other charges.