Somalia: Shooting, Starving and Stealing

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November 10, 2007: The Hawiye clan, which has long dominated Mogadishu, is being displaced by Ethiopian and Transitional Government troops. The latter are from clans outside the city, who will move in to take the place of Hawiye clan families now fleeing. There are over 1.5 million people in refugee camps in southern Somalia. Most of the new ones are from Mogadishu. Some factions of the Hawiye clan are supporting government. The Hawiye clan is the largest in Somalia, with over two million members and dozens of "sub clans." Those Hawiye clan factions that have joined the Islamic Courts Alliance, or simply don't want other clans moving into the city, are fighting back. It's a losing battle. Over half a million people have fled Mogadishu this year, and they are now leaving at the rate of 10,000 a week. Ethiopian and government troops are clearing one neighborhood after another. This begins with house-to-house searches for weapons, followed by artillery and tank fire if anyone shoots at them. Fighting in the last week has caused over 300 casualties. In addition to the fighting, southern Somalia is in the midst of a famine. But emergency food shipments are having a difficult time getting past the pirates, and the warlords who demand payoffs at roadblocks, or just steal the food and the trucks.

November 8, 2007: The UN has concluded that sending peacekeepers to Somalia is not a viable option, which probably means the 1,700 Ugandan peacekeepers that are already there, will be withdrawn. The Ugandans are not doing much besides protecting their own base, and the airport.

November 6, 2007: In the last week, American warships have moved against four merchant ships seized by pirates. In each case, the pirates fled or were captured, and the ships liberated. The pirates have been operating farther from the coast, often in waters previously considered safe. The U.S. Navy is not going after the coastal towns the pirates operate from, but is indicating the that the pirates should stick close to the shore.

November 5, 2007: Pirates freed a Taiwanese ship, held since April, after paying a $220,000 ransom. The pirates had demanded a million dollars.

November 4, 2007: At least one more battalion of Ethiopian troops has entered Mogadishu, and it appears that another brigade is being sent to the city.

 

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