First Published: 2006-12-29

 
Somali PM enters Mogadishu amid protests
 

Protestors, chanting anti-Ethiopian slogans, throw stones, burn tyres as Somali transitional PM enters capital.

 

Middle East Online

By Mustafa Haji Abdinur - MOGADISHU

Entering the Somali capital protected by Ethiopians

Ali Mohamed Gedi, the head of Somalia's interim government, on Friday entered Mogadishu amid protests by thousands over the presence of Ethiopian troops in the capital.

Gedi travelled into Mogadishu in a high security convoy, protected by about 100 Ethiopian soldiers, one day after the leaders of Islamic courts forces left the city.

Gedi's government, whose fighters forced the Islamic courts out with the help of the Ethiopian military, plans to enforce three months of martial law in a bid to reestablish order.

Looting and gunbattles erupted between rival clan-based militias erupted.

Protestors, chanting anti-Ethiopian slogans, threw stones and burnt tyres as the prime minister headed into the capital. Hundreds of Ethiopian troops, and tanks, were already in the city.

"Thousands of angry people have started a violent demonstration in the northern part of the city, particularly in Tawfiq and Suuqaholaha areas," said one resident Abdulsatar Dahir Sabrie.

Gedi said martial law was needed to disarm all the militias.

Speaking to reporters late Thursday in his home village of Mundul Sharey, north of the capital, Gedi said: "This country has been through a lot of anarchy, so to restablish order we will have to have an iron hand, especially with the private militia."

Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Mohamed Aidid said the parliament based in Baidoa is expected to endorse the move on Sunday.

The transitional government-Ethiopian alliance had been fighting the Islamic courts for control of the country since December 20. The conflict erupted after Ethopia rejected an Islamist demand to withdraw from Somalia.

Islamic courts fighters still held the southern port town of Kismayo, where one of their senior commanders vowed they would launch hit-and-run attacks across the country.

Dinari said Mogadishu elders had assured the government of their support, but uncertainty still prevailed in the town. Many Islamic courts fighters, who swapped their uniforms for civilian clothes and removed their turbans, roamed the streets.

Islamic courts fighters said their leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was in Kismayo about 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of the capital, where residents reported Ethiopian jets flying over the region, apparently on reconnaissance missions that raised fears of bombing.

"We will never surrender to Ethiopians and the government of (President) Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed," local Islamic courts’ commander Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Bilal said from Kismayo.

"I assure you the Islamic forces are everywhere in the country and you will see the forces operating within days. What we will do is hit and run. We will ambush their convoys everywhere in Somalia."

Somalia fought wars against Ethiopia in 1964 and in 1977/78. But Ethiopia said its intervention was necessary as the Islamic courts were a security threat.

"We do not need and clearly we do not welcome Ethiopian forces here or anywhere in Somalia," said resident Muhamoud Abdi.

A correspondent saw Ethiopian tanks, more than 70 military trucks and hundreds of troops near Banadir Hospital in southern Mogadishu. Hundreds more vehicles were parked at the northern and western gates of the city.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme said it would resume humanitarian air operations to Somalia this weekend after the government lifted a ban on air flights.

Somalia disintegrated into lawlessness after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. It was carved up among clan warlords, some of whom now back the government, and defied all international bids to restore functioning institutions of state.

There have been no independent assessments of casualties but Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi claimed up to 3,000 dead on the side of the Islamic courts, while the Islamists said they had killed hundreds of government troops.

The Ethiopian intervention in Somalia has received tacit US support, with Washington arguing that Addis Ababa had legitimate security.

 

Qatar blocks planes from transporting pilgrims

Russia destroys large column of IS fighters in Syria

Erdogan says joint op with Iran against Kurds ‘on the agenda’

Barcelona attack fugitive ‘dangerous, possibly armed’ warn police

In Egypt, Syrian refugees recreate Syria

Spanish police shoot dead man who could be Barcelona attacker

Iraqi forces close in on last IS bastion in country’s north

Kuwait arrests 13 fugitives in Iran-linked terror case

Lebanese president ratifies public sector wage rise, tax hike

Young Syrian refugees want end of war and ISIS

Lebanon army advances against IS in border battle

Spanish police say driver of Barcelona rampage van identified

Toxic politics in Italy, Libya further complicate migration problem

Assad says no Syria ties for countries backing rebels

In African tour, Sisi seeks to rebuild ties, address security and water concerns

Syria’s transition scenarios for future rounds of talks

Iraqi Kurds may postpone referendum in return for concessions

Dubai real estate market sets the pace for renewed growth in the GCC

German-Turkish intellectual held at Ankara’s request

Jordan’s municipal elections marred by deaths, riots

Rouhani says top priority is protecting nuclear deal from US

Russia doubts IS claim of stabbing attack in northern city

Turkey slams 'arrogant' German reaction to Erdogan poll call

Police confirm Finland 'terror attack'

Spain hunts suspects as IS claims attack

Aid project helps Syria refugees feel at home in Jordan

Lebanese army launches anti-IS offensive on Syria border

UN demands access to Yemen ports

Low-cost attacks a new reality for Europeans

Forces of Libya's Haftar say commander wanted by ICC in detention

Yemen rebels urged to free political commentator

Iranian footballer breaks silence over ban for playing Israelis

Erdogan meddles in German politics

IS fighters almost encircled in Syrian desert

For Israel, White House ties trump neo-Nazis and antisemitism

Israel freezes implementation of settlement law

Saudi Arabia installing cranes at Yemen ports

13 dead, 100 injured in two Spanish seaside city attacks

Iran reform leader ends hunger strike

Van ploughs through pedestrians in Barcelona terror attack

13 killed in Barcelona van attack

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers