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Somali Islamists battle advance

FrancFFrancF Member, Moderator Posts: 35,278 ******
edited January 2007 in General Discussion
Somali Islamist militiamen are fighting Ethiopian and Somali government troops advancing towards their last major stronghold in the port of Kismayo.

Artillery fire has been reported near the town of Jilib, close to Kismayo.

Ethiopian fighter jets have also been flying low over Kismayo, reports say. Residents have been fleeing the area.

The Islamist militia has vowed to resist the Ethiopian and Somali government troops who forced them out of the capital on Thursday.

Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has said his forces are "ready to fight the enemy of Allah" and had only left the capital, Mogadishu "to prevent bloodshed".

Some 3,000 Islamist fighters are believed to be in Kismayo, some 300 km (185 miles) south-east of Mogadishu, towards the Kenyan border.

Ethiopian artillery and troops officially entered Somalia, joining fighters loyal to Somalia's interim government, to repel an Islamist assault on the government stronghold of Baidoa.

Border reinforced

Clashes are being reported in several towns near Jilib.

"Fighting has started," a resident of the town of Bulobaley told Reuters news agency. "Several mortars and rockets have hit the town."


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"Most of the mortars and rockets that have hit the town have fallen on deserted houses. I don't know if there are any wounded," the resident, who did not wish to be named, said.

Thousands of civilians in the area around Jilib have been fleeing their homes in anticipation of heavy fighting.

The BBC's Peter Biles says Jilib is a gateway to the south of the country and the Islamist militia are likely to use the town to block any further advance.

He says the Islamists could find themselves trapped between Kismayo and the Kenyan border.

Kenya has re-enforced security along its border in an effort to prevent Islamist militiamen from crossing over.

Food shortages

Somalia's interim government has called for talks with the Islamists.

However, the Islamists say they will not enter any dialogue unless Ethiopian forces vacate the country.

Ethiopia accuses the Islamist militia of harbouring terrorists.

The militia has its origins in a Union of Islamic Courts, known as the UIC, that was established to restore order in Mogadishu.

The UIC assumed control of the capital in June, driving warlords out and rapidly extending its influence to much of southern Somalia.

Some analysts say the UIC's popularity stemmed from its ability to transcend the clan enmities that have bedevilled Somalia since the overthrow of former President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Almost all Somalis are Muslim, and after years of lawlessness many were happy to have some kind of law and order under the UIC.

Much of Somalia faces food shortages because of recent heavy floods.

The UN estimates that about 30,000 people have been displaced during the fighting, and casualties have been high.

Comments

  • CA sucksCA sucks Member Posts: 4,310
    edited November -1
    GO ETHIOPIA!
    Stem the tide of the Islamic virus and push back those religious Islamic nutjobs.
  • Mr CoolMr Cool Member Posts: 883 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Its Bush's fault.
  • CA sucksCA sucks Member Posts: 4,310
    edited November -1
    No really.... I am glad someone is stopping the violent spread of islam.

    I am glad Ethiopia is taking a stand and stopping them.
    I'm beginning to form a high opinion of Ethiopia, it succesfully beat the Italians when european colonialism was at the height of its power, thats just as noble as standing up to the british in 1776.

    Now they are stopping these brutes spreading islam by force.

    In this case, its not Bush's fault (though I do despise him for other reasons), it is Muhammeds fault.
  • biglou250biglou250 Member Posts: 603 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by CA sucks
    GO ETHIOPIA!
    Stem the tide of the Islamic virus and push back those religious Islamic nutjobs.




    +1
  • buschmasterbuschmaster Member Posts: 14,250 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    you have to start the story from the beginning if you want to understand what's going on.

    after that Mohamed Siad Bizarre guy was overthrown, there was no single warlord capable of ruling over all the other similarly powerful warlords. so you get what you got: chaos and fighting between them to gain power. it was a stalemate between all of them.

    what was different with the warring factions in Somalia, is that aside from allegiances to their warlords, the people are all the same. unlike the serbian/bosnian/albanian mess where the people were against each other. here it was tolerable. I think what you had was tribalism in a modern sense.

    with the conflict for the most part between warlords who all operate off the same population base, which can be considered as a whole, you can then realize that the population as a whole will have their own opinions as to whether or not they feel like putting up with the fighting.

    if the population is at each other's throats there is no possibility of a consensus to quit fighting. that is chaos. what was going on in Somalia is probably seen as business as usual for Africans and they're not so uncomfortable with it. it's not so bad.

    lately they have grown weary of the fighting. enter this 'new government'. everybody in Somalia is muslim. this 'new government' is run by christians. they see it as an opportunity to gain power, because they're a seperate faction new to the picture, who are different, them being different offers some semblance of authority, and they offer peace and stability in return for their ascention to power. as if they were coming into town and setting up some kind of franchise.

    being muslim, the people don't like this new christian government who wants to rule them. I'm sure if they could have their way, the population would just as soon throw out these yoyos and continue with their factionalized power struggle, were it not for the violence they have grown weary of.

    enter Ethiopia. they are christian. Ethiopia and Somalia have been enemies because of those differences. now that this 'new government' that wants to rule Somalia is christian, Ethiopia will help them to power, that is, fight against the muslim warlords. and you get what you are seeing now.

    the other night, when the 'new government' and Ethiopian forces reached Mogadishu, they did in fact stop 16 km outside of town and sent in a handful of negotiators. maybe 5 or less. I don't think the muslim forces even talked to them, the negotiators just drove around looking for them, from what I heard. whether that's true or not, it is a fact that the muslim forces decided to leave to avoid damage to the town instead of fighting there.

    that's not so bad, is it? they aren't the crazed, rabid warmongers that the media makes them out to be. they handed over a town (the major town) rather than see it damaged. they know they won't get it back. this doesn't sound like the work of people who only care about themselves. frankly, these people sound a lot more cool and rational than what you had in bosnia/serbia/albania. this is a different kind of struggle.

    enter the media. they tell lies, as they did in the above article, to bias our opinion. they said "The Islamist militia has vowed to resist the Ethiopian and Somali government troops who forced them out of the capital on Thursday".

    why do they have to portray the muslim forces as weak and spiteful? why do they have to portray the 'new government' and Ethiopians as all-powerful and unstoppable? the muslim forces were not forced out of Mogadishu.

    why do they call them "islamists"? why don't they call them "muslims"? have you ever heard of a "christianist"? why do they add an -ist ending to whoever they want you to believe to be bad guys?

    why the bias? why the misrepresentation? why the lies?

    now you can see what is really going on. the people of Somalia and their warlords are considered sheep, just like you and I.
  • TxsTxs Member Posts: 18,801
    edited November -1
    I got stuck on the thought of, "Ethiopian fighter jets...". [:D]
  • Mr CoolMr Cool Member Posts: 883 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    i thought bill clinton took care of somolia ?
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