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Heavy gunfire erupts in Mogadishu as peacekeepers landded
ISSUE 268
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Haatuf Journalists sent to prison

Ethiopia’s Ability To Tackle The Meddle In The Horn vs. Saving Its Ties With Somaliland From Hackers “Use It First Or Lose It”

Somaliland government blames the judiciary
For canceling the press law

Peacekeepers Suffer First Casualties In Somalia

Mandeeq Chairman Passes away

Could Somaliland War Of Words Lead To Conflict ?

The Foreign Minister Of The Republic Of Somaliland,, Has Appealed To The Chairman Of The African Union

AU Troops 'May Spark Somalia War'

Somali president returns to Baidoa after Puntland stopover

Largest Number of Wounded People Admitted to Hospital in Mogadishu

Mission Report on the Trial Observation of Detained Human Rights Defenders
in Somaliland

Regional Affairs

African Union Vows No Meddling In Somali Affairs

Somaliland celebrates International Women Day

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Q: On the independence of Somaliland from Somalia?

Empower women to secure prosperity in Somalia, says UNICEF

Aid Workers Bid To Fight Genital Mutilation

Why is the US press silent on Brzezinski’s warnings of war against Iran?

Bush Backing Kibaki's Re-Election Drive, Charges Raila As He Wraps Up U.S. Visit

DynCorp lands Somalia contract

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Oil in Darfur? Special Ops in Somalia?

Editorial - Somaliland People Will Tolerate No More

The Other Somalia: An Island Of Stability In A Sea Of Armed Chaos

International Women’s Day: Concern About Increasing Violence Against Women Journalists

SEritrean diaspora urged to intercede on behalf of imprisoned journalists on 2,000th day since “Black Tuesday"

SOMALIA FACES BEST CHANCE IN YEARS FOR PEACE, BUT CHALLENGES ARE ENORMOUS - UN REPORT

The Assyrian and Israelite Origin of the Northern Europeans and Americans

Food for thought

Opinions

The King Is Truly Naked

Mr. President, Back Off From Your Self-Defeating Mission: And Reform Your Leadership and Administration

Somaliland Need Regime Change By Any Means Necessary

Ignored Somaliland should embrace terrorism to be noticed !

In Defense Of The Press Law

Gold Ball at Rayale’s Court

Haatuf Journalists Jail Sentences: Travesty of Injustice

Climate Change Concern: Why Now?


MOGADISHU Mar 6, 2007 – Insurgents unleashed two attacks against the Somali government and its foreign allies in Mogadishu on Tuesday, just hours after Ugandan peacekeepers assigned to tame the anarchic city landed.

The concerted assaults, some of the heaviest in weeks, appeared timed to coincide with the arrival of some 350 Ugandans in the vanguard of an African Union mission to help restore law to a country mired in chaos since central rule crumbled in 1991.

More than a dozen mortar strikes hit the airport, where the Ugandans were camped after landing earlier. A Ugandan army spokesman said none of the soldiers was wounded.

"The military side of the airport has been hit. We cannot cross from this side to the other side," said a witness.

The Ugandans were the first batch of peacekeepers to arrive in Mogadishu since a U.S. and U.N. operation ended in failure in 1995, after relentless street battles with local militiamen.

The proposed 8,000-strong AU force is designed to help Somali President Abdillahi Yusuf's government extend its shaky authority over the Horn of Africa country.

Yusuf, backed by Ethiopian armor and air power in a lightning war over Christmas and New Year, routed rival Islamists who held most of southern Somalia for six months.

They fled into hiding vowing to wage holy war against foreign troops and guerrilla attacks have gradually built up.

Shortly after the airport attack, scores of masked fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns at government and Ethiopian troops at a base in Mogadishu's industrial area.

At least two civilians were killed in the attack, said a local reporter trapped by the gunfire at a nearby hospital.

"SUICIDE MISSION"

Most of the Ugandans were flown in by the Algerian air force in C-130 cargo planes.

Last week, 35 Ugandan officers landed in Baidoa, the interim government's temporary capital in south-central Somalia. More are expected to arrive in the coming days to bring the Ugandan contingent to about 1,600.

The Ugandans are assigned to patrol Mogadishu, one of the world's most dangerous and gun-infested cities.

"It's a suicide mission. No one in their right mind would send 1,600 troops to Somalia now. They're sending in boys with no experience of this kind of mission," said a Western diplomat in the Ugandan capital Kampala, who declined to be named.

The insurgents are suspected of being a mix of defeated Islamists and clan militiamen resisting central rule that would end their private fiefdoms.

Two unmarked Russian-made Antonov cargo aircraft flew in white military vehicles for the Ugandans with AU markings, including armored personnel carriers.

The AU force is needed to replace Ethiopian troops, which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says he is eager to pull out after defeating the Islamists.

But as with its previous peacekeeping operation, in Sudan's Darfur region, the AU faces a shortage of money and equipment.

"I hope our partners will help us overcome the funding and logistical problems facing the AU," said Saed Djinnit, the group's commissioner for peace and security.

Nigeria , Ghana, Malawi and Burundi are also expected to send troops to join the AU force, but pledges so far make up only about half of the required number of soldiers.

None of the previous 13 attempts at a central government since dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre was toppled in 1991 have succeeded in taming the coastal city.

"Our mission is not to fight, but if the lives of troops are endangered, they have the right to fight back," Djinnit said.

Source: Reuters


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