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Somalia: Ass'n Exposes Growing Repression On Youth in Mogadishu

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Addis Ababa, August 9, 2006 – The repressive acts perpetrated by the extremist group in the Union of Islamic Courts against the youth living in Mogadishu and its environs have been escalating, the Somali Refugee Youth Association in Addis Ababa said.

Association Chairman Moham-med Aideed, who just returned from a 15-day visit to Mogadishu, told WIC Monday that he has come to understand that the extremist group is causing a lot of suffering on the people in general, and on the youth in particular.

He said the terrorist group has stripped of the freedom of the people and closed down recreation centers, thus putting the youth in a difficult situation.

Besides closing cinemas and theatres, the chairman said he has seen the extremists beating and confiscating the properties of youth caught watching movies.

He added that lovers seen together were also caught and jailed by the extremists, while the boy was severely beaten by militants. Mohammed said Mogadishu has now in brief become a horrible city where boys and girls cannot even talk to each other.

The extremists have denied the people access to the international media, Mohammed said and disclosed that while he was in Mogadishu he has heard the extremists broadcast through their radio station that they would intensify their struggle to spread extremism to the whole East African region.

The extremist group is also trying to mobilize the youth and the public against Ethiopia by propagating that Ethiopian troops have entered Somalia, he revealed. Yet the people of Somalia wish Ethiopian troops or the international community to enter into Somalia and stabilize the nation, the chairman reiterated.

The extremist group is a big threat to Ethiopia and East Africa, Mohammed said, adding that the international community should therefore discharge their responsibility to contain the dangerous group.

In this regard, the over 15,000 members of the association fully support Ethiopia's initiative to do away with terror and extremism and bring about sustainable peace and stability in Somalia, the chairman said.

Appreciating Ethiopia's effort to help Somalia with whom it shares the largest border, Mohammed requested the international community to pressurize Eritrea to refrain from meddling in the internal affairs of Somalia by supplying arms and offering training to extremists.

Mohammed has also called on the more than 15,000 youth Somali nationals in Addis Ababa and the entire Somali people to redouble their support to the Transitional Government and urged the African Union, IGAD and the government of Ethiopia to facilitate the measures they take.

Source: WIC/The Ethiopian Herald

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