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Mogadishu Battle Threatens Somali Peace
ISSUE 227
Front Page
Index

This Week's Somaliland News

Headlines

Islamic Courts Fighters In ‎Control Of Central Mogadishu

17th Anniversary Of The SNM’s Glorious ‎May Offensive‎

Somaliland Day In Minnesota‎‎‎

Escape From Somalia‎

The 15th Anniversary Of The Independence Day ‎Of The Republic Of Somaliland 18 May 2006‎‎‎

‎Somaliland: Time For African Union Leadership

Fugitives From Somali Capital ‎Describe Horrors Of War‎

Regional Affairs

People Smuggling To Yemen Intensifies, ‎Hundreds Thrown Overboard - UN‎

US Says Helps Somalia, But Not To Blame For ‎Fighting‎

Somalia Renews Call For Foreign Peacekeepers‎

China To Host African Development Bank Meeting

Eritrea: President Urged To Mark ‎Independence Anniversary By Freeing ‎Prisoners, Letting Country Breathe‎‎‎‎

Economic Indicator: Destination Of Ethiopian Export

Reluctant Africa Must Tackle Somaliland Issue - ICG‎‎‎

Yemen Fears Al-Qaida In Somalia‎‎

Kenya: Govt Dismisses UN Claims ‎On Somalia Arms Ban‎‎

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Body Of A Missing Somali ‎Woman Found In The River‎‎

Ethiopia: Ruling In Col. Mengistu Case Is Postponed

U.S. Envoy Rejects Blame For Somali Conflict‎‎‎

Politicians Decry Rumors Of ‎Prejudice Against Muslim Candidate‎

Growth Of Al-Qaeda Feared In Somalia

For Somali Student, 'English Is Fun' Now

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Somalia's Terrorist Infestation‎

Sweating It Out On The Somaliland Coast

A Commander For Afghanistan

LA Times Editorial: A Dangerous Game In Somalia

Rageh Omaar: The Scud Stud Aims For Truth‎‎‎

Food for thought

Opinions

A New Wind Of Change Blows Over Africa

Thousand questions
for Prof. Ahmed ‎Samater‎‎‎‎

Who Is Bashir Raghe Chirar?

The Blood That Was Shed

Somali History: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎

Another 26 June

Senator Norm Coleman’s Position On The Republic ‎Of Somaliland

Somaliland: Where Peace And Democracy Make No Headlines‎‎

Building Integrity To Fight Corruption:‎‎


By Karen Allen

Baidoa, May 26, 2006 – Baidoa, where Somalia's transitional government is based, may be out of earshot of the gunfire in the capital, Mogadishu, but the effects of the escalating violence are being intensely felt.

Roadblocks along the main road which link Baidoa to Mogadishu, 200km to the south, have been strengthened in the past few days in a bid to limit the passage of weapons, while families fleeing the bloodshed in the capital are seeking refuge in the town.

All eyes are focused on the transitional government, to see what it will do next.

Crippled by 15 years of civil war, Somalia is ill-equipped to deal with hostilities in Mogadishu.

It faces the challenge of having to rebuild a police force, a judicial system and an integrated army, but this will take years, as well as a firm commitment by the international community to support the government.

Weak government

After 14 failed attempts to establish an administration, Somalia does now at least have a transitional federal government established in 2004, but it is far from united.

Clan rivalries and rows over resources are a divisive force - and there are many parts of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, where the government has little control.

Since the fighting in Mogadishu intensified and a ceasefire earlier this month failed, there have been calls for ministers linked to the alliance of warlords, to step down.

This week they were given a deadline, but it came and went and the ministers remain in their jobs.

This sense that the government is weak is precisely the reason that has driven the alliance of warlords to take matters into their own hands, and hunt down what they believe are al- Qaeda supporters being given safe haven by the Union of Islamic Courts in Mogadishu.

"We don't have an alternative because our country has no effective government," Bashir Rageh one of the leaders of the warlords alliance, told the BBC.

"That's why Somalia has become the home of terrorist groups. When we realized all this was happening we decided we had to do something - they are only a government in name - they are ineffective."

Clan rivalries

Parliament, housed in what was once a grain warehouse in Baidoa, has been meeting and debating the crisis in the capital, but faces paralysis over what to do.

It too is a patchwork of clan rivalries and regional affiliations, at times rowdy and undisciplined.

The speaker has now established three parliamentary committees to investigate the outbreak of violence in Mogadishu but it is hard to see a way forward soon.

Meanwhile the human tragedy of the mayhem in Mogadishu is all too apparent in Baidoa.

Families are fleeing to the town to escape the violence.

Many have stories of friends and relatives caught in the crossfire.

'Safe'

Mouktar Isak Abdi fled with his parents and siblings three weeks ago after his 18-year-old cousin was shot in the leg.

"He was in his room at around 0200, he was injured by anti-aircraft guns, and after an hour we took him to hospital - that's why we've fled to Baidoa, to be safe, to be secure," he said.

Safety is a relative concept in Somalia and although Baidoa has seen less violence than Mogadishu - freelance militias are still all around.

Owning a weapon earns you cash in this town, and rarely does a day go by without the sound of AK-47 gunfire.

No-one in the transitional government has yet claimed that the bloodshed in Mogadishu could spill over here, but with a fragmented government trying to manage a fragile peace, plans to rehabilitate Somalia could be in serious jeopardy.

Source:  BBC News, May 26, 2006


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