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.

 

Pentagon skeptical about Russia's Syria pullout claims

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

EU accused of complicity in Libya migrant rights violations

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

Israeli sentenced to four years for arson attack on church

Erdogan risks sabotaging fragile relations with Israel

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Iran

Two Gazans killed by Israeli ‘strike’, Israel denies claim

French FM accuses Iran of carving out ‘axis’ of influence

Somali journalist killed in front of children

Over 170 dead after South Sudan rival cattle herders clash

Russia begins partial withdrawal from Syria

Russia weary of returning IS jihadists before World Cup, election

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS