13 September 2010Fractures in Somalia’s leadership could potentially be extremely damaging to a country long ravaged by war, misrule and humanitarian suffering, the United Nations and its partners cautioned today, urging the heads of the nation’s Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) to maintain a united front. Augustine Mahiga, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Boubacar Diarra, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia; and Kipruto Arap Kirwa, Somalia Facilitator for the InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), issued their joint statement following a meeting with Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed in Mogadishu last week.“Many members of the international community have worked tirelessly to support the current administration and we know they join us in calling for the leadership of the TFIs to remain cohesive and focused on security and transitional tasks at such a critical time,” they said.Somalia’s transition phase ends next August, giving the current Government less than a year to wrap up its remaining priority tasks.“The end of the transition period will give Somalis the opportunity to determine a new political dispensation, but there is much work to be done before then,” the envoys said. “There is no time to waste.”Those who stand to gain the most from the current divisions are the extremists trying to take control of Somalia, they stressed, underlining the need for internal cohesion to foster peace and stability. The country has not had a functioning national government since 1991.Somali troops and peacekeepers serving with the AU’s peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) risk their lives daily to protect the TFIs and “to defend the integrity of the peace process,” the statement said.“The leaders and politicians need to demonstrate their unity of purpose to show they are working together to restore peace to Somalia.”
The police identified the accused as S. Prasanthan (24) of Mannar district. Interrogation revealed that Prasanthan arrived at Madurai airport on March 17 on a valid passport and three months’ tourist visa. He stayed with his relatives at Batlagundu. The modus operandi was that he would take the contraband up to International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and hand it over to his contact after receiving money. After making the payment for the contraband, he would fly back to Colombo, Mr. Kennedy said.The leader of the smuggling gang deputed him to directly handle the operation as the local contacts tried to cheat him, Mr. Kennedy said. This was the second trip made by the accused, he said, adding he had visited India in 2011 for a smuggling operation. Prasanthan was handed over to Pamban police, who arrested him. (Colombo Gazette) Tamil Nadu’s Q Branch police detained a Sri Lankan Tamil when he attempted to smuggle 10 kg of ganja from the Pamban seashore, The Hindu newspaper reported.Acting on a tip-off, a special team, led by Q Branch Inspector of Police R. Kennedy, detained the Lankan Tamil when he was preparing to smuggle the contraband to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka through the sea route by engaging a boat. After visiting his uncle at Mandapam last week, he went to Madurai railway station as instructed by his ‘boss’, a Keralite operating in Sri Lanka, and received the contraband from a contact. He was waiting for the boat when the Q Branch police detained him.