Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Somalia Update: Violence Continues in Mogadishu; Journalist Arrest Condemned

Somalia: Mogadishu violence continues to kill people

Tue. July 17, 2007 04:00 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) Three bomb explosions followed by gunfire, which happened in the besieged Bakara market, south of the Somalia capital Mogadishu left four civilians and one soldier dead and six others wounded on today.

Eyewitnesses told Somalinet that unknown militants threw hand grenade bombs at government soldiers in the market.

Most of the civilians were killed in the shootouts by the soldiers in response to the explosions.

The first explosion took place in Aden Adde road near Bakara market while four civilians were wounded.

“Every time, explosion can happen in seconds, it is too dangerous to do business here because it is becoming a military zone,” said Dini Xashi, a local businessman.

Meanwhile, Ali Mohammed Siad known as Ali Dheere, the chairman of business community in Bakara market told Somalinet that the constant military mission by the government soldiers forces many traders to move their products from Bakara to other markets in the city.

“Gunshots fired by the government soldiers who are target for the bomb attacks became a major obstacle to the continuation of the business,” said Ali Dhere.

Surge in violence is still up in the capital as the peace conference is due to restart on Thursday.

Somalia: Ethiopians conduct search operations, Bakara quiet

Tue. July 17, 2007 03:53 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) Heavily armed Ethiopian forces backed by tanks and armored vehicles raided villages alongside the Industry Road in the restive capital of Mogadishu where they began house to house search for weapons and suspects of the regular attacks on government installations. The soldiers blocked all the roads in and out of the settlements under their search operations.

“Before the dawn break when I woke up for praying, I saw Ethiopian soldiers outside of my door, I was shocked but one soldier who was speaking Somali language told me that they were not going to harm me but wanted to search for weapons,” Sheik Ali Yahye, a father of four children told Somalinet by telephone adding that “they have entered my house and searched all rooms but found nothing,”

Meanwhile, Bakara market, which is still under siege for the second week, is calm today despite sporadic gunfire. People normally opened their businesses as the security forces keep guard all the roads in and out of the market.

On Monday, six people were killed and dozen others were wounded in bomb attacks in and around Bakara market.

One soldier was killed and two others were wounded in the yesterday’s bomb blasts, according to the local official.

The commander of the current operating forces in Somalia colonel Yusuf Hussein Dhumal said the search for weapons and suspects in and around Bakara market will continue for an indefinite period. The government set up a big military station inside the market to keep an eye to the insurgents’ movements.

The TFG believes that Bakara market, which the biggest hub in southern Somalia is the hotspot for the attacks against the government.

Several soldiers have been killed in bombings and ambush attacks launched by the insurgents since the Bakara siege began two weeks ago.

Somalia: Journalists deplore the arrest of newspaper reporter

Tue. July 17, 2007 04:09 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah


17 July 2007 The National Union of Somali journalists (NUSOJ) deplores the arrest of Journalist Abdirahman Mohammed Habane of Hargeisa-based Jamhuuriya Daily Newspaper who was arrested on Tuesday 12 July 2007.

Officers from Criminal Investigation Department in Awdal region arrested the journalist in Borame. Although the reason for his arrest is not officially known, reliable sources told the National Union of Somali Journalists that the journalist was arrested on controversial news report that he made on inaugural ceremony of an elder as a Traditional Leader in Awdal region.

Following the publication of the report, there were clashes between the supporters of the Traditional elder and people against the elder's inauguration.

The Somaliland Journalists Association protested the arrest of Abdirahman Mohammed Habane at a press conference in Hargeisa. The President of Somaliland Journalists Association Mustaf Abdi Isse told NUSOJ that they were distressed by the arrest and protested it.

"We condemn the arrest of our colleague Abdirahman Mohammed Habane as an act against freedom of press, which is freedom to report current issues independently," said Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ). "We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Abdirahman" Omar Faruk added. "Borame became a place where Somaliland journalists are always suppressed, and we demand the Somaliland authorities to take an action on continuous press freedom violations".

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