Somalia: Clan Warfare Aims For The Stomach

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November 2, 2007: The clan warfare in Mogadishu has caused over 400,000 civilians to flee the city so far this year. About 20 percent of that number have fled in the last week. The Transitional Government and their Ethiopian allies are forcing the pro-Islamic Courts clans out. The fugitives are going to refugee camps outside the city. The Transitional Government is trying to gain control over UN food aid to those camps, to gain more leverage over the clan militias operating from the camps.

November 1, 2007: The UN is subcontracting food aid distribution to a Somali charity. This new aid agent will be easier for the Transitional Government to strong arm, and get the aid denied to groups perceived as enemies of the government.

October 30, 2007: The prime minister of the Transitional Government has resigned, after more than a year of feuding with the president. The two men represent different clans. The Transitional Government was put together as a coalition of clans and warlords, but it never got beyond being a loose coalition. Clan loyalty is still stronger than nationalism in Somalia.

October 29, 2007: About a hundred kilometers off the coast, a North Korean ship, offloading sugar to smaller boats, was seized by the seven man Somali security team they had hired to protect them from such attacks. Most of the 43 man North Korean crew barricaded themselves in the engine room, leaving the pirates unable to move the ship. The crew also got out a distress call, and a U.S. destroyer responded. Then most of the crew stormed the bridge, where the seven pirates were. Two pirates were killed, and three crewmen wounded. The U.S. destroyer offered to treat the wounded, and the destroyer's helicopter was used to move the wounded off the ship, while American sailors came on board to provide first aid.

October 28, 2007: A U.S. destroyer, at the invitation of the Transitional Government, has entered Somali waters in pursuit of a Japanese benzine tanker that was hijacked by pirates over the weekend. Because of the flammable cargo, caution must be used in dealing with the pirates on board.

October 27, 2007: The government trying to force the UN to stop providing food to clans that support the Islamic Courts, or other clans that oppose the clan coalition comprising the Transitional Government. This has long been a problem with the UN aid programs, which end up supporting all sides in civil wars or insurrections. The government realizes that cutting off the UN aid to their enemies would be a powerful weapon. About 15 percent of the ten million population are in danger of starvation without the UN food aid.

October 26, 2007: There's basically a clan war in Mogadishu, and the clans forming the Transitional Government are forcing out the clans that have long ruled most of the city. About a thousand civilians a day are fleeing the city as government and Ethiopian troops come into their neighborhoods looking for hostile gunmen.

 

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