Somalia faces 'all-out war' as neighbours intervene
Chris Tomlinson in Nairobi
Saturday October 28, 2006
An "all-out war" between Somalia's government and
Islamists who control much of the country is brewing
due to the presence of thousands of foreign troops,
according to the UN.
A confidential report obtained by the Associated Press
cites diplomatic sources and says that Ethiopia,
Uganda and Yemen are supporting the government, while
Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Gulf states are
supporting the Islamic movement. The report was
written to help top UN officials work out how to
provide aid to the impoverished country, without an
effective central government since 1991.
In order for us to do this, a clear policy of
engagement with the [Islamic movement] must be put in
place," it said. "The fact is that there is new found
stability in [the historic capital] Mogadishu,
extending to areas they have begun to control, which
has not been seen for many years." One problem is that
the movement's leader, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, is on
a list of people with ties to terrorism, and UN policy
severely restricts its contact with him.
The report estimates that 6,000-8,000 Ethiopians and
2,000 fully equipped Eritrean troops are inside
Somalia supporting the government and the movement
Government forces, supported by Ethiopians, are
digging trenches near Baidoa, the only town the
UN-backed government controls. The movement has forces
at a strategic town between Baidoa and Mogadishu, 150
miles to the southeast.