Somalia: The Mission


August 18, 2010:  In Mogadishu, food prices have increased fifty percent in the last month, mainly because several major food merchants have left the city. Businessmen are leaving because al Shabaab announced increased attacks in the city. The Islamic radicals are also demanding more "taxes" from businessmen. That, plus the growing lawlessness has made it more difficult to bring goods into the city and offer them for sale.

Islamic terror groups outside Somalia are criticizing al Shabaab for the bombing attacks in Uganda last month, because all the dead were civilians and some were Moslem. This, Islamic radicals have found, lowers support for terrorists among Moslem populations. This reduces contributions of cash, volunteers and assistance in general. These attacks only work if they kill a lot of Westerners, especially Americans, and preferably American military personnel. Al Shabaab doesn't seem to care and is following the familiar self-destructive pattern for Islamic radical groups. It's a Mission From God that always ends in defeat.

August 17, 2010:  In the eastern edge of the Gulf of Aden, a navy helicopter spotted a speedboat carrying  several men, a ladder and barrels of fuel. Warning shots failed to force the boat to halt. A warship eventually ran down the speedboat, and arrested the suspected pirates on board and seized ship boarding equipment.

In the United States, six Somali men who were arrested last April after firing on a U.S. ship, had piracy charges dismissed. Since the men were unable to board the American warship, the judge concluded that piracy did not occur. The men are still charged with attacking the ship with their rifles. Sailors on the U.S. ship returned fire, killing a seventh pirate and sinking the boat they were in. The six men were then rescued and charged with piracy and several other offenses.  

August 16, 2010: Al Shabaab gunmen attacked government positions, and several mortar shells fell in a refugee camp, causing over 60 casualties (mostly wounded).

August 14, 2010: The government of Puntland, an autonomous region in northeastern Somalia, has forbidden local journalists to interview Islamic radicals and warlords, and publish or broadcast that material. The government does not want these outlaws to get publicity, which helps them recruit new gunmen and other supporters. A journalist who violated this rule was arrested and jailed.

August 13, 2010:  Fighting with Islamic radical groups in Puntland left five members of the government force dead, and an unknown number of hostile fighters injured. The Islamic radicals fled their camp. The leader of the group, Mohamed Said Atom, got on the phone and called a radio station to proclaim his defiance. The radio station broadcast the interview and the Puntland government shut the station down and jailed the guy who ran it.



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