Anti-Ethiopian protests rock Somali capital – Police and protesters exchanged fire in Mogadishu on Saturday, killing at least one person, a government source said, as hundreds of Somalis demonstrated against Ethiopian troops and a disarmament drive.
Protesters hurled stones and burnt tyres, wreathing streets in smoke and reviving memories of the chaos that had largely stopped during six months of strict Islamist rule.
“Protesters shot at policemen, the police returned fire killing one man,” a government source said. “I don’t know how many people have been wounded.”
A witness said three people had been killed and that Ethiopian troops had opened fire.
* Commander of Somalia is in the eye of beholder
* Somali gov’t halts disarmament program
* Ethiopian operation dovetails with U.S. aims
* Islamic fighters hiding in Mogadishu say they are inspired by al-Qaeda message
(This is the new Somalia update thread, the first thread can be found here. More articles can be found in comments.)
Somalia plans major assault – Somali troops backed by Ethiopians captured a southern town near the Kenyan border on Thursday evening and prepared to launch a major assault on Friday on the last stronghold of Islamic movement militiamen.
US Navy warships were patrolling off the Somali coast to prevent the militiamen from escaping by sea. Col Barre “Hirale” Aden Shire, the Somali defence minister, said Islamic militiamen were dug in with their backs to the sea at Ras Kamboni at the southernmost tip of Somalia.
“Today we will launch a massive assault on the Islamic courts militias. We will use infantry troops and fighter jets,” said Shire, who left for the battle zone on Friday. “They have dug huge trenches around Ras Kamboni but have only two options: to drown in the sea or to fight and die
* US general does not see American troops in Somalia
* Ethiopian army eager to learn from U.S. soldiers
* Mogadishu ripe for militants and warloards
* Qaeda exhorts Somali Islamists to fight
* America’s new puppet
US forces are deployed near Somalia to block the escape of members of that country’s ousted Islamist government with ties to al-Qaeda and other extremists, a State department spokesperson said on Wednesday.
“We would be concerned that no leaders who were members of the Islamic Courts which have ties to terrorist organisations including al-Qaeda are allowed to flee and leave Somalia,” spokesperson Sean McCormack said.
“We of course have a presence off the coast of Somalia and Horn of Africa to make sure there are no escape routes by sea where these individuals could flee,” McCormack said. He declined to provide details about the US forces.
* Ethiopia launches all-out war on Somalia after UN’s resolution legitimises foreign intervention
* Kenya Closes Border but Denies Turning Back Refugees
* 3,500 Islamists Said Hiding in Somalia
* Resounding boo for Ethiopia’s invasion
* Somali gunmen attacked an oil tanker truck near Mogadishu
Kenya Sends Troops to Border With Somalia – Kenya sent extra troops to its border with Somalia on Wednesday to keep Islamic militants from entering the country after Ethiopian helicopters attacked a Kenyan border post by mistake while pursuing suspected fighters.
Meanwhile, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni flew to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to meet with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to discuss the framework of a regional peacekeeping mission to Somalia, said Okello Oryem, the Ugandan minister of state of foreign affairs.
* Eritrea warns of Somalia ”˜quagmire’ for Ethiopia
* Kenyans deport Somali refugees illegally
* Somalis skeptical of turning in their guns
* After preemptive strike on Islamist, Ethiopia wants others to pay
Ethiopian troops to stay in Somalia weeks
Ethiopian troops will stay in Somalia for another few weeks to help the victorious government pacify the Horn of Africa nation after a two-week war to oust militant Islamists, Addis Ababa said on Tuesday.
Tightening the net on defeated Somali Islamic Courts Council (SICC) fighters fleeing south, neighbouring Kenya said it had sealed its long and porous northeastern border.
A triumphant Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, whose intervention turned the war against the Islamists, said his forces would only remain “for a few weeks” while the interim government pacifies the chaotic nation.
“It is up to the international community to deploy a peacekeeping force in Somali without delay to avoid a vacuum and the resurgence of extremists and terrorists,” he added.
Islamic militants flee final stronghold
A militant Islamist movement fled from rapidly advancing government forces into a rugged, forested corner of Somalia, as the prime minister offered the Islamist rank and file amnesty if they surrendered.
Diplomats from the region were working to arrange the speedy deployment of African peacekeepers to help the interim government establish its authority in the country, which has known only anarchy for 15 years.
Somali government to seize Mogadishu – A joint Ethiopian and Somali government force controlled the main routes into Mogadishu and was poised to capture Somalia’s capital after Islamist rivals fled the city, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
Somali Islamists change tactics – All forces loyal to Somalia’s Union of Islamic Courts abandoned the capital, Mogadishu, late on Wednesday night in what it says is a change of tactics.
“We have taken the decision to leave Mogadishu because of the safety of the civilians,” the deputy head of the Islamic courts executive council, Abdi-Rahman Janqow, said as Ethiopian-backed government troops advanced towards to the city.
“All of our troops have withdrawn. They are now heading to somewhere they think they can fight with their enemy and kill them one by one without fighting among the civilians”, he added.
Islamic forces retreat in Somalia; government offers conditional amnesty – Somalian government and Ethiopian troops advanced toward the country’s capital Tuesday as Islamic fighters retreated, bloodied by a week of artillery and mortar attacks but promising a “new phase” in the war, a chilling pronouncement from a movement that has threatened suicide attacks.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he had been given unconfirmed reports that as many as 1,000 people had died and 3,000 were wounded. “Some of them are Somalis, but a very significant proportion of them are not Somalis,” Meles told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, referring to foreign Islamic radicals who have reportedly joined the fighting.
Meles said his forces, which entered Somalia in large numbers Saturday, have completed about half their mission.
* US defends Ethiopian attacks in Somalia, urges ‘maximum’ restraint
* Ethiopian forces were now hunting down troops from his arch-foe Eritrea
* Ethiopia predicts victory against Islamists
* In Somalia, a reckless U.S. proxy war
Ethiopia Jets Attack The Somalia Islamic Council – Ethiopia launched an attack Sunday on Somalia’s powerful Islamic movement, sending fighter jets across the border and bombarding several towns in a major escalation of the violence that threatens to engulf the Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia confirmed the attacks, the first time it has acknowledged that its troops were fighting in Somalia, though witnesses have reported their presence for weeks.
Ethiopian tanks roll in Somali battle’s fourth day ~ Dec 22
Ethiopian tanks rolled to the battle front on Friday as Somali Islamists and pro-government troops pounded each other with artillery and rockets in a fourth day of clashes starting to take the shape of a war.
Witnesses near the fighting on two fronts to the southwest and southeast of the government’s encircled stronghold, Baidoa, said they heard the rumble of armour before dawn.
If the tanks engage in the battle it would raise the stakes in what is already the most sustained combat so far in a fight many fear could mushroom across the Horn of Africa.
Witnesses have said Ethiopian soldiers are taking part in the battles, and have reported that an Ethiopian military helicopter was flying over Baidoa on Wednesday. more at link
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