Somalia: May 30, 2002

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The casualty toll between the TNG (National Transition Government) troops and militias of the warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow that broke out on the morning of the 28th in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Yalahow is part of the SRRC (Somali Restoration and Reconciliation Council), which unites the leaders of the armed factions that control the arms trade, backed by Ethiopia.  The count from the 28th of 26 dead (5 government soldiers, 10 militiamen, 11 civilians) and 50 some injured rose to 62 dead and over a hundred wounded on the 29th. The fighting on the 28th began shortly after morning prayers around dawn and raged for several hours. The fighting subsided by mid-morning but then Yalahow's militia overran and looted two police stations. They then attacked a nearby army base but after a heavy exchange of fire, the TNG military repulsed the militias. Some witnesses claimed that heavy artillery and RPGs were used in the fighting. A humanitarian source told the UN that the TNG lost 15, Yalahow lost 29, Usman Ato lost 14 and Husayn Aydid lost two. The rest of the casualties were civilians and included women and children wounded by mortar fire.

The fighting between both sides had resumed 24 May, when some 100 heavily armed 
militia loyal to Muhammad Habeb (AKA Muhammad Dhere) attacked the house of Dahir Shaykh Dayah (the TNG interior minister). Dayah's security detail was overwhelmed and the minister's house looted and destroyed. By afternoon, the fighting had spread to most parts of north Mogadishu and reportedly drawn in the forces of Mogadishu faction leader Muse Sudi Yalahow, in support of Muhammad Dhere's militia. The TNG then deployed military forces to reinforce the police, who had first arrived on the scene to help evacuate Dayah. The fighting was subsequently concentrated around the former Somali navy headquarters in north Mogadishu, where the forces of Muse Sudi and Muhammad Dhere withdrew after attacking the minister's house. There were eight known killed and 20 wounded from that day's fighting. The area around the minister's house, most of the Lido beach area and Karan [all in north Mogadishu] were controlled by government troops by the time fighting died down that evening. There was a feeling among residents even then that this was the lull before the storm. - Adam Geibel

 

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