The overthrow of the Islamic government has plunged the capital back into anarchy. The Ethiopians are now facing a possible new conflict with Eritrea. No doubt the Ethiopians are confident that they will win out since they have the support of the US in arming and training their troops.
Fifth day of fighting in Somali capital
Insurgents battle Ethiopian troops backing government
Sunday, April 22, 2007
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Insurgents and Ethiopian troops backing Somali government forces fought gunbattles on Sunday during a fifth day of fighting in the Somali capital that was less intense than the previous two days.
A government official, however, warned on Sunday that it planned a major offensive against the insurgents soon and wanted Mogadishu residents to move from insurgent strongholds.
Two main hospitals said they admitted 26 civilians wounded during Sunday’s fighting. The casualties by midmorning contrasted sharply with the toll from the previous day, when the Elman Human Rights Organization and hospital officials said heavy fighting in northern and southern Mogadishu killed at least 52 people and wounded 120.
Sunday’s fighting was mainly in the southern Mogadishu neighbourhood of Tawfiq, with Somali government forces capturing Tawfiq Hotel that has been owned by a businessman sympathetic to the insurgents, said Deputy Defense Minister Salad Ali Jelle.
“People in Mogadishu should vacate their homes which are located near the strongholds of terrorists and we will crack down on insurgents and terrorists very soon,” Jelle told The Associated Press on the phone.
Saturday’s violence was the worst in recent years, said Sudan Ali Ahmed, the chairman of the Elman Human Rights Organization.
“I call on the both sides to stop the fighting and shelling without any condition,” to save civilian lives, he told the AP by telephone.
In a separate development that could increase tension in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea suspended its membership of a regional body that mediated the Somali conflict.
The region is already tense because of the unresolved border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia that has seen the two countries go to war in the past. In recent months, the Somalia conflict has also been seen as a proxy war between the two, with each backing rival sides.
Eritrea suspended its membership of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development because of “a number of repeated and irresponsible resolutions” the organization has passed “that undermine regional peace and security,” the Eritrean Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Saturday.
“As such, the Eritrean government deemed it fit not to be party to developments that hold one accountable both legally and morally,” said the statement.
It did not make any direct reference to Somalia. But in recent years, the seven-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development has spent most of its time trying to resolve conflicts such as Somalia, rather than focus on economic development for which it was set up.
U.S. officials have named Eritrea as a supporter the months-old insurgency in Mogadishu, something Eritrea has denied.
Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on one another, throwing the country into anarchy.
The transitional government was formed in 2004 with UN help, but has struggled to extend its control over the country.