At a time when HIV rates have stabilised or declined elsewhere, the epidemic is still advancing in the Arab world, exacerbated by factors such as political unrest, conflict, poverty and lack of awareness due to social taboos.
Among the labyrinth of winding narrow streets just outside a major shopping centre in the Kumkapi neighbourhood of Istanbul is a rundown road, congested with shops and apartments stacked atop one another.
Somalia’s State Minister for Interior and Federalism Affairs Mohamud Moalim Yahye has told IPS that the hasty repatriation and mass deportation of its citizens by Kenya could compromise recent, critical security improvements made by regional governments against the Islamic extremist group, Al-Shabaab.
Twelve-year-old Halima Mohamed Ali wakes up every morning at five am, but unlike her peers she does not go to school. Instead, she begins her duties as a nanny for five children, the oldest of whom is just two years younger than she is.
On a Friday afternoon men wearing kamis — long white traditional robes — climb the steps to Somcity Travel, a small family business and travel agency in Kisenyi slum, in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The agency boasts that they “fly all over the world” but to one destination in particular — Somalia.
Residents of Mogadishu have raised concerns about their safety after the Somali army recently fired hundreds of disgruntled soldiers, many of whom are believed to still be in possession of their arms.
Osman Ali, the owner of an electronics shop in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, has been hard-hit since Al-Shabaab forced the biggest telecoms company to switch off its mobile internet service in this Horn of Africa nation.
For years the Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab was seen as the most cohesive, united and powerful force in the failed state of Somalia. But it is now disintegrating like a house of cards because of internal divisions and power struggles within its leadership, according to Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, a history and political science professor at Kenya’s Kenyatta University.
The explosion went off at 2:40 on a Sunday afternoon, on a tree-lined side street in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa. The area was a quiet one - home to foreign diplomats, domestic civil servants and several embassies - and the blast was strong enough to kill two men, startle the neighbours, and demolish a small home.
Somali militia groups are beginning to operate in Kenya’s remote and arid North Eastern Province, an area that borders southern Somalia – a former stronghold of the extremist group Al-Shabaab.
Mukhatar Jama has been teaching at a secondary school in Mogadishu for the past decade. Religious education is part and parcel of the curriculum of all schools in Somalia, but he says most parents are unaware of exactly what their children are being taught – a radical form of Islam.
Strong action now expected against the al-Shabaab group may well end up strengthening the group rather than weakening it, local people fear. The extremist group is suspected of involvement in the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi.
In the aftermath of the worst terror attack in East Africa in three years, foreign policy scholars here are urging the U.S. government to rethink its counter-terror policy in the region.
Heavy and sustained gunfire has been heard from the Nairobi mall where the Al-Qaeda-linked Somali Islamist rebel group Al Shabab are holed up, holding an unknown number of civilians hostage.
Somalia is well-known for being a country torn apart by decades of conflict, by hunger and instability. Today, with fragile stability emerging and a new government in place, there is an opportunity to define a new future of peace, prosperity and justice.