Posted on July 3, 2009 by connectafrica
Heavy fighting in the Somali capital killed at least 20 people on Thursday, the second day of fierce clashes as government forces tried to drive hardline Islamists out of their Mogadishu bases. Al Qaeda-linked fighters in Somalia’s al Shabaab rebel group are battling to oust President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, himself a former Islamist insurgent who joined a peace process last year.
Al Shabaab and allied fighters control much of southern and central Somalia and have boxed the government and 4,300 African Union peacekeepers into a few blocks of Mogadishu. “The streets were horrific,” ambulance service official Ali Muse told Reuters. “We’ve transported 20 dead bodies and 55 injured in the latest fighting.”
Western nations and Somalia’s neighbours worry that if the rebels succeed in toppling Ahmed, the Horn of Africa nation will become a safe haven for al Qaeda training camps, and hardline Islamists will destabilise the region. At an African Union summit in Libya, AU leaders discussed beefing up their force and whether to give the troops a stronger mandate to take the fight to the rebels.
At present, the troops from Uganda and Burundi are largely confined to their bases and protect key sites such as the presidential palace, airport and seaport.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS
Filed under: AFRICAN CRIME AND JUSTICE, AFRICAN NEWS, AFRICAN POLITICS, SOMALIA | Tagged: AFRICAN CRIME AND JUSTICE, AFRICAN NEWS, AFRICAN POLITICS, MOGADISHU, SOMALI PIRATES, SOMALIA | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 15, 2009 by connectafrica
Islamist rebels and Somalia’s western-backed government and allies exchanged mortar and small arms fire on Thursday in the seventh day of clashes in the capital Mogadishu that have killed 139 civilians. Years of conflict in Somalia have killed tens of thousands, displaced millions more, defied 15 attempts to establish central rule and created one of the world’s worst aid crises.”Twenty-six civilians died and 98 were injured on Wednesday and Thursday,” said Yasin Ali Gedi, vice chairman of the Mogadishu-based Elman Peace and Human Rights group.
“Thousands have also evacuated in this period, because fighting has spread to new districts,” he said. The militant al Shabaab and forces loyal to President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed continued to battle in Mogadishu. Pockmarked buildings near the presidential palace shook from the latest bout of clashes, which have plagued the country since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. Residents accused African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) of shelling insurgent strongholds.
Like most guerrilla wars, rebels stage hit-and-run attacks and hide amongst the populace. “I saw them transporting 10 dead bodies and dozens of injured in mini-buses,” resident Abdi Hussein said.”They were all opposition, because they were masked. Government soldiers also died, but I could count only three. I’m sure there are more. We were running from the shelling of AMISOM,” he said. AU spokesman Barigye Ba-Hoku said: “We are neither involved in fighting nor shelling … The opposition blames shelling on us as an excuse to attack our bases.”
SOURCED FROM REUTERS
Filed under: AFRICAN CRIME AND JUSTICE, AFRICAN NEWS, SOMALIA | Tagged: AFRICAN CRIME AND JUSTICE, AFRICAN NEWS, MOGADISHU, SOMALI PIRATES, SOMALIA | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 12, 2009 by connectafrica
Residents of Somalia’s capital are fleeing as the death toll from fighting in Mogadishu rises. A health official told the BBC that 14 people had been killed overnight. A local human rights group estimates more than 120 have died in recent days. On Monday, Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed blamed radical Islamists for the renewed bloodshed.
He told the BBC the hardliners had no interest in ending the violence and wanted to take Somalia by force. The fragile interim government has been fighting radical Islamist groups like al-Shabab since 2006. The latest fighting began on Thursday and escalated over the weekend between pro-government forces and Islamist groups.
“The fighting erupted in the most densely populated areas”Rights campaigner Ali Shaykh Yasin.
Somalia, a nation of about eight million people, has experienced almost constant conflict since the collapse of its central government in January 1991.
SOURCED FROM BBC
Filed under: AFRICAN CRIME AND JUSTICE, AFRICAN NEWS, SOMALIA | Tagged: AFRICAN CRIME AND JUSTICE, AFRICAN NEWS, AL SHABAB, MOGADISHU, SOMALIA | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 17, 2009 by connectafrica
If the signal before now in the world’s number one rogue state was amber, this week it moved into crimson red. It is the recent bloodletting of 3 Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden that has sparked the latest act of brigandage. US President Barack Obama’s pledge to come down hard on the pirates following the seizure of an American vessel last weekend has been met equal ferocity. The vessel’s captain offered to be the paschal lamb while the rest of his crew escaped. The four buccaneers stalled greedily waiting for their ransom but paid the price losing three of their ilk to superior American sniper fire. The US says it will try the fourth pirate in the US while US secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, labelled the activities of the pirates, criminal and promised a wide range of actions including freezing pirates’ assets and also improving the Somali economy.
Mr. Sharmake Somalia’s PM says his country is formulating a rapid reaction force that would be used to stop the pirates. He warned that the pirates can only be defeated on land.
But on land, Bakara market is the facsimile of hell; a pungent, putrid and unsettling reminder to the United States of a failed misadventure to purify the Islamic state of Islamist fundamentalists led Mohammed Farah Aidid in the early 1990’s which led to the loss of 13 American soldiers. 1 million AK-47’s and several thousand RPG’s in Bakara market equals to nearly two- score-years of political instability which has contributed grossly to underdevelopment and poverty.
It is doubtful if the nascent Obama administration would dare to touch-down an American camouflage at the Mogadishu international airport-last year’s scene of a long stand-off between Islamist militia’s and the AU’s peace-keeping force. The militants had warned the AU not to land its aircrafts and the AU disobeyed to its huge disadvantage. Nigeria which is Africa’s biggest supplier of troops to troubled spots in the continent has been mute; its foreign affairs minister, Ojo Maduekwe had stunned Nigeria’s local press two months ago when he said Nigeria was not ready for the body bags. There is no Nigerian soldier in Somalia
The Gulf of Aden has suddenly become some sort of aquatic United Nations-the western world’s odyssey. This week, South Korea sent in a war ship to escort one of its several commercial vessels which make use of the route yearly adding to nearly two dozen international naval forces
Armed with high tech communication gadgets; sat phones, GPS devices and rocket propelled grenades, these bands of Somali teenagers are slowly turned the Gulf of Aden to an off-shore Bakara market. Last year alone the pirates made a whooping 80 million dollars in ransom money. The presence of international warships hasn’t yet scratched the surface of the problem. In response to President Obama’s riot act, 5 commercial vessels were hijacked in 72 hours, and toll keeps rising
Across board, most leaders, analysts know that shock and awe alone would not get the job done-Iraq and Afghanistan are vivid reminders. Security officials have admitted that it is difficult to attack the pirates because of the hostages on board and sailors have been advised to travel on a particular speed so as to be ahead of the pirates and also have security watch but the pirates have been known to travel at early hours ahead of the sailors.
In the end some respite could be achieved by improving working ties and economic aid to the Al-Shabbab central government that has been responsible for much of the violence in the past. The west however would be wary of dealing with a terrorist look-alike government, but then there are very limited options available other than brokering this fiendish pact; to coin a phrase it’s deciding between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Filed under: AFRICAN NEWS, AFRICAN POLITICS | Tagged: AFRICAN POLITICS, BAKARA MARKET, EAST AFRICAN NEWS, HILARY CLINTON, MOGADISHU, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SOMALIA PIRATES | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 25, 2009 by connectafrica
At least 13 people were killed and scores wounded in the Somali capital on Tuesday as Islamist rebels battled police and African Union peacekeepers throughout the day.
Witnesses said battles that began mid-morning were still going on at dusk. Both sides fired heavy machine guns and artillery and the insurgents unleashed volleys of mortar bombs at the hill-top Villa Somalia presidential palace.
It was the worst fighting in weeks in Mogadishu.
Representatives of the government and various Islamist factions engaged in the fighting refused to comment. Workers at the city’s main hospital said dozens of wounded were admitted.
Residents put the death toll at 13 while local Shabelle Media reported 15 people had been killed. As usual in Mogadishu, the vast majority of those hurt were civilians.
“A mother and her baby died after a shell landed on their house,” said local man Abdirizak Mohamed. “Their flesh was so mangled we did not know what to carry.”
More than 16,000 civilians have been killed in the two-year-old insurgency, one million people have been driven from their homes, more than a third of the population depend on aid, and large parts of Mogadishu lie empty and destroyed.
The latest violence broke out after hardline Islamists al Shabaab said they would mount more attacks on the AU troops after killing at least 11 Burundian soldiers on Sunday.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS
Filed under: AFRICAN NEWS, AFRICAN POLITICS, SOMALIA | Tagged: AL SHABAB, AU PEACE KEEPERS, MOGADISHU, SOMALI TERRORISTS, SOMALIA | Leave a Comment »