Monday, January 12, 2009

Somali News Update: Demonstration Against Israel in Mogadishu; New Ghana President to Send Troops

Demonstration against Israel in Mogadishu

Posted: 1/9/2009 5:17:00 PM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

MOGADISHU (Sh. M. Network) - Hundreds of Somali demonstrators protested after Friday prayers in Mogadishu and a number of other towns in the war-torn Somalia against the Israeli raids on Gaza Strip in the Middle East.

People chanted slogans against the Israeli bombing in Gaza calling for an immediate halt to the bombing which they say cause the death of innocent children, women and the elderly.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the main Sheik Ali Sufi Mosque in Mogadishu, as religious leaders spoke about the suffering of the Palestinian people, saying the current situation in Somalia will never bar them from expressing their anger at what is happing in Gaza and sharing the pain with the people of Palestine.

Sheik Ibrahim Suley, one of the most prominent Islamic scholars in Mogadishu, spoke to the protesters outside the main mosque.

"We are against the killing of innocent people and we share the pain and suffering with the people of Gaza, because as Muslims we are as one body - if one part feels pains the whole body feels the pain," Suley told the protesters who burned the Israeli flag.

In Beledweyne, the provincial capital of Hiran in central Somalia, people also took to the streets and condemned the attacks on Gaza calling the international community to intervene.

Abdirahman Ibrahim Maow, senior local official in Beledweyne, spoke with the protestors and urged the people of Gaza be saved.

In Jawhar, hundreds of people gathered in the local stadium and chanted anti-Israeli slogans and called for the immediate cessation of hostilities in the Middle East.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza were killed while nearly three thousand others were wounded including women and children in raids by Israeli fighter planes for nearly two weeks.

Israel says it wants to stop fighters of Hamas from firing rockets into settlement posts close to the Gaza strip.

Shabelle Media Network

Ghana's new leader considers sending 2 battalions to Somalia

Posted: 1/10/2009 6:05:00 AM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

ACCRA (Sh. M. Network) - Ghana's new President John Atta Mills has pledged to the African Union that his country will urgently consider sending two battalions to the stretched African force in Somalia.

African Union's Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) requires an urgent personnel beef-up to help keep power in the hands of the weak government there, after the withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops on the ground.

African Union's chief diplomat Jean Ping, who was in Ghana on 7 January for the swearing in of the new Ghanaian President, said that he got immediate pledges of Ghana's positive approval to his request for troops.

"The situation in Somalia is a constant preoccupation for us," Ping, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, told journalists at his inaugural New Year briefing, at which he spelled his vision for Africa in the New Year.

The top African diplomat said he was upset by the occurrence of two successful military coups in Africa, but also noted that his timely condemnation of an attempted one in Guinea-Bissau successfully prevented another one.

Ping, who is set to continue his Africa-wide search for Somali peacekeeping troops during a trip later on Friday to Egypt, said that the new Ghanaian President was consulting widely on the possibility of sending at least two battalions to Somalia.

President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso is also considering a similar request from the African Union to increase the number of African troops to Somalia.

The Bukinabe President, who was also present at the inauguration of the new Ghanaian leader, has also welcomed the proposal to send troops.

Somalia appeared to be on the brink of a major security crisis after the Ethiopian troops announced they were pulling out of the Horn of African nation, the interim President Abdullahi Yusuf resigned and tribal fighting continued to worsen.

Ping expressed optimism that the implementation of an agreement signed in Djibouti to share power among the various political factions was well in progress and the signals were brighter for the deployment of additional troops to the country.

Burundi and Uganda, the only two African states still retaining a semblance of military presence in Somalia, threatened to pullout of the country unless more financial support was offered to the AMISOM.

Financial experts at the AU Commission have considered a three-month budget for the Somali peace operation, at slightly over US$68 million.

The AU is also considering other forms of support to train some 10,000 security agents for Somalia, despite the challenges of having the trained soldiers join the local clan-controlled militias on the ground.

UN monitoring reports said locally trained soldiers had over the past few months sold-off their weapons to clan militias, which they then joined.

Shabelle Media Network

25 killed in fighting in Somalia between rival Islamist groups

Monday, January 12

MOGADISHU (AFP) - - Fighting between rival Islamist groups in central Somalia left at least 25 people dead and more than 50 wounded Sunday, said local elders and witnesses.

Clashes broke out between fighters of the hardline Shebab militia and members of a more moderate religious group, the Ahlu Sunna Wal-jama'ah in Guriel, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) northeast of Mogadishu.

"It was the heaviest clash ever in the region between the two sides," Abdulahi Hirsi Moge, a local elder, told AFP.

"We have counted at least 25 people, most of them combatants, killed in the fighting and there is still a possibility of some undisclosed dead bodies outside of the town," he added.

Local resident Ahmed Abdifatah said the fighting had stopped around midday and the dead bodies, at least 25 of them, were being collected from the streets. The wounded, including several civilians, had been taken to hospital, he added.

Mohamed Adan, a member of staff at the main hospital in the town, said at least 51 people had been admitted after the fighting.

The two forces clashed several times for control of the town at the end of December.

Somalia has been in the grip of a civil war since 1991, with no central government strong enough to impose its authority.

Shebab officials blame Ethiopian troops -- who invaded the country in 2006 to back the government but who are in the process of pulling out -- of supporting some religious groups against them.

Heavy fighting breaks out in Southern Somalia

Posted: 1/12/2009 8:50:00 AM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

BARDHERE ( Sh. M. Network)-Heavy fighting between Ethiopian soldiers accompanied by Somali government soldiers and Islamist insurgents has broken out in Bardhere town in Geda region, southern Somalia early on Monday morning, Shabelle’s correspondent reported.

Residents say that the fighting has started about 02:00 local time in Kilaliyow Mountain which is 12 kilometers north of Bardhere town in Gedo region and both allied soldiers and the Somali Islamist insurgents have exchanged heavy weapons which could be heard in all the areas around the town during the fighting.

Mohamed Abdi kalil, a deputy district commissioner of Bardhere town and Col. Warfaa Sheik Aden known as (Farole), a government soldiers’ officer in Jubba regions, southern Somalia have talked the fighting and said that there were more casualties including deaths and wounds but could not be confirmed and denied that the fighting was involved by Ethiopian troops.

The real casualty of the fighting is unclear and there is no group who claimed the responsibility of the fighting in Bardhere town yet.

Reports from Bardhere town say that the fighting was stopped and the situation returned calm.

The Ethiopian troops arrived in Somalia in 2006 to help the transitional government oust Islamists from the capital but many of Somalis were deeply unpopular with the Ethiopian intervention.

The fighting comes as Ethiopian government announced it will withdraw its troops from Somali territory in over the past week but delayed.

Shabelle Media Network

Calm returns to central town

Posted: 1/12/2009 6:38:00 AM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

GURIEL (Sh. M. Network)-Calm has returned to Guriel town in central Somalia, after fierce fighting that killed about 30 people, mostly fighters, including top officials, witnesses said on Monday.

Heavy fighting erupted in the trading town of Guriel yesterday (Sunday) when Al-shabab militants attacked Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca militias in the town.

Houses were burnt yesterday when the insurgents shelled residential areas with mortars.

Residents say the town is calm and businesses have been re-opened.

There has been a power struggle between Islamist factions since Ethiopia announced plans to withdraw its troops from Somalia.

Ethiopian troops arrived in Somalia in 2006 to help the interim government oust Islamists from the capital.

The Ethiopian intervention was deeply unpopular with many Somalis.

Al-Shabaab, which opposes a peace deal with Somalia's transitional government, is trying to take control of areas vacated by the Ethiopians.

Shabelle Media Network

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