Somalia: The Silent Killers Are Winning

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March 23, 2007: Gun battles in Mogadishu intensified over the last three days as government forces began attacking neighborhoods controlled by the clans loyal to the Islamic Courts. A few dozen gunmen are causing most of the mayhem, as they make a daily mortar attack, followed by a brief gun battle. The attackers wear masks, because if they were identified, they could be later found and arrested. However, it's no secret which clans are supporting the attackers, and its feared that the Ugandan peacekeepers and their armored vehicles will soon be showing up in the neighborhoods of the clans supporting the Islamic Courts, and the recent violence. Such a confrontation would leave the neighborhood in ruins, and the inhabitants refugees.

March 22, 2007: The government has ordered al Jazeera out of the country and closed two pro-Islamic Courts radio stations. All three media outlets were accused of encouraging violence against the government. Most of the violence is in the capital, Mogadishu, is being created by a few dozen gunmen loyal to the Islamic Courts. These media outlets have been pushing reports that the gun and mortar attacks in the capital are being directed by an al Qaeda member, working for the Islamic Courts. But the stories are presented in such a way that the Islamic Courts gunmen come off like heroes.

March 21, 2007: Islamic Courts gunmen fought with Transitional Government forces in Mogadishu, leaving nearly twenty dead, half of them gunmen or soldiers. The Islamic Courts took videos of bodies being mutilated and desecrated, and passed the media and Internet.

March 20, 2007: The daily mortar attacks continue, but the accuracy is so poor that nearly all the victims are civilians. The UN peacekeepers armored vehicles arrived by sea at the capital, and were unloaded.

March 18, 2007: While the gun battles between clan militias and peacekeepers gets most of the headlines, disease is killing more people. The guns and mortars kill about a dozen people a day, at most. But there's an outbreak of cholera in southern Somalia, that's killing twenty or more people a day. There are other killer diseases going around, but they do it silently, making for very unattractive photo opportunities.

 

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