Somalia: Blackhawk Down Part 2


April 3, 2007:   Four days of fighting has caused over a thousand casualties, most of them civilians and Islamic Courts gunmen. The Islamic Courts forces used civilians, and residential structure, as cover. This is a common tactic in Somalia, but the Ethiopians, and other Somalis (the pro-government gunmen) paid no attention. Civilians caught in the cross fire either got out of the way or got hit.  The Islamic Courts have been defeated, but because there are many very fanatical factions among the local Islamic radicals, some fighting will continue. Many  Arab media outlets are pitching this as a victory of a Christian nation (Ethiopia) over a Moslem one (Somalia.) Fantasies like this are taken very seriously in this part of the world.  Meanwhile, the ceasefire and truce are holding, but the Ethiopians and government troops are looking to terrorist and Islamic Courts leaders. 


April 2, 2007:  Another battalion of Ethiopian troops entered Mogadishu. Before the fighting began last week, most of the original Ethiopian invasion force had left the city. There were only a few battalions of Ethiopian soldiers on the outskirts when the Islamic Courts made their move, and tried to regain control of the city last week. The clan elders, of the pro-Islamic Courts clans, negotiated a truce with Ethiopian troops, but government forces refused to go along, partly because of an assassination attempt on the commander of the government forces. A suicide bomber was used, so the government is blaming it on al Qaeda. So the fighting resumed. The government forces were later persuaded to go along with the truce. 


April 1, 2007:  The Ugandan peacekeepers have been guarding government buildings and infrastructure, at least  until the fighting is over. One Ugandan soldier was killed, when a mortar shell landed near the presidential palace. Clan elders called for a cease fire in Mogadishu. The clan elders don't usually run the clans, but are called in when there's a major problem, and some patience and wisdom is needed. Such is the case when there's a cease fire to be negotiated. One was negotiated today, and the sounds of combat died down, and bodies were removed from the streets.


Pirates seized a cargo ship off the coast near Mogadishu, and moved it north towards Puntland. The ship was chartered by local businessmen to carry commercial goods, and the pirates are asking for a ransom payment. 


In the last two months, about 100,000 people have fled Mogadishu, half of them in the last two weeks, as Islamic terrorists became more active, and the government responded by attacks the Islamic Courts gunmen and their supporters. 


March 31, 2007:  Fighting in Mogadishu continues, with over 200 Islamic Courts gunmen dead so far. 


March 30, 2007:  The battle in Mogadishu got really violent as government and Ethiopian troops used tanks and artillery to attack Islamic Courts neighborhoods. Thousands of civilians fled, but the gunmen stayed and fought. This is the biggest battle seen in Mogadishu since 1993, when American and Somalis fought. That one left 18 Americans and over 500 Somalis dead. The American media declared it an American defeat, much to the relief of the battered Somali warlords, who expected the American Rangers and Special Forces to return the next day and finish them off. No such luck this time around. The Ethiopians are the best troops to be seen in Mogadishu since the 1990s, and more than a match for the Somalia clan militias. It's a slaughter, even though the Somali gunmen are making much of shooting down an Ethiopian helicopter.




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