Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Mogadishu engulfed by more mayhem

Heavy clashes have resumed in Somalia's capital as some of the fiercest clashes in months show no sign of abating.

Pro-government forces in the city are exchanging fire with rebels from the radical Islamist group al-Shabab. Thousands of civilians have fled.
It came a day after the guerrillas and pro-government forces fought a deadly battle in central Somalia.
Meanwhile, the UN warned the Horn of Africa nation was facing its worst drought for at least a decade.
At least two people have been killed and 10 injured in Wednesday's fighting near the presidential palace in the Wardigley district and in the north of the city at the Bondere and Karan areas.
Five people died a day earlier during clashes in the village of Mahas, about 300km (180 miles) north-east of the capital.

'Rotting on the streets'
"Al-Shabab fighters ran into a mosque for refuge, but residents kept firing at them with rocket-propelled grenades," local man Aden Hussein told Reuters news agency by telephone.

But al-Shabab spokesman Sheik Ahmed Abu-Yahya said pro-government forces had lost the battle, telling AFP news agency by telephone: "Many of their dead are rotting on the streets."
It is estimated more than 120 lives have been lost since the latest round of bloodletting erupted on Thursday.
Somalia's fragile Western-backed interim government has been fighting radical Islamist groups like al-Shabab since 2006.
A moderate Islamist president took office in January but even his introduction of Sharia law to the strongly Muslim country has not appeased the guerrillas who battle pro-government and African Union (AU) forces in the capital almost daily.
Meanwhile, the UN special representative for Somalia warned against treating the upsurge of fighting as just another round in a civil war, with faction fighting faction.
Ahmed Ould Abdallah told a meeting at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, that Somalia now had a legitimate government and the current fighting should be viewed as an attempted coup d'etat.
He said: "There is no civil war any more in Somalia. What we have in Somalia is a government - weak, fragile - but it is a government and we have a moral, political obligation to help it. We cannot treat the aggressor and the victim at the same level."

Sierra Leone surprise
The AU announced a boost for its peacekeeping effort in Mogadishu - with the unexpected offer a battalion from Sierra Leone, which would raise the strength of the force to more than 5,000 troops.

The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says the AU peacekeeping force in Somali lacks manpower and is under-resourced.
Although it has been able to keep the port and airport open it cannot stop fighting on the present scale or provide more than very limited protection to civilians, she adds.
The AU is still hoping for wider support through the UN, but every new outbreak of fighting makes it more likely the outside world will write off the problem as unsolvable, according to our correspondent.
The UN meanwhile warned that drought had left nearly half the Somali population malnourished and some 3.2 million people in urgent need of food aid.
Somalia, a nation of about eight million people, has experienced almost constant conflict since the collapse of its central government in January 1991.
It is estimated that more than 16,000 civilians have been killed by fighting since the start of 2007 and more than one million are internal refugees.

1 comment:

Luis Portugal said...

Hello, I like the blog.
It is beautiful.
Sorry not write more, but my English is bad writing.
A hug from Portugal