Somalia: July 25, 2002

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: Fighting in the southwestern Medina district (outside Mogadishu) broke out in the early morning hours of 23 July, when militia loyal to Mogadishu faction leader Muse Sudi Yalahow attacked a house belonging to his erstwhile ally, Umar Mahmud Muhammad Finish. Finish's forces captured two armed trucks during the day and destroyed another. Yalahow's militia reportedly lost ground and the firefights subsided around 11.00 local time, only to see Yalahow's gunmen counterattack Finish's militia on the 24th around 08:30 (05:30 GMT). At least 30 people were killed and over 50 wounded after two days of fighting. Witnesses said there was indiscriminate shelling of houses and many of the dead were civilians. These numbers include only those reaching hospitals, but exclude those buried where they died or being cared for at home. 

One local journalist noted that every time there was a peace conference on the horizon, each warlord tried to get rid of his immediate rival. In this case, Yalahow wanted to be the only one at the table from his clan. The UN Security Council (with it's usual firm grasp of the obvious) tightened it's 10-year-old arms embargo on Somalia on the 22nd, saying the flow of weapons was undermining efforts to stabilize the dysfunctional East African nation. - Adam Geibel

 

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