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Somali Resistance to US-backed Occupation Escalates

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    Somali Resistance to US-backed Occupation Escalates by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor(Pan-African News Wire) 2008/10/03 http://www.mathaba.net/rss/?x=607810 The
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2008
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      Somali Resistance to US-backed Occupation Escalates
      by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor(Pan-African News Wire)
      2008/10/03
      http://www.mathaba.net/rss/?x=607810


      The Ugandan troops, operating ostensibly on behalf of the African
      Union, have been sent into the capital to back up the Ethiopian
      occupationists. The escalation of fighting between September 20-29
      has sparked another large-scale exodus from
      Mogadishu.


      During the last week of September there was unprecedented fighting in
      several areas in the east African nation of Somalia. This rising tide
      of violence is directly related to the resistance efforts of the
      Somali people against the US-backed occupation of their country
      carried out by the military forces of neighboring Ethiopia. An
      important dimension to the recent fighting is the role of African
      Union (AU) peacekeeping units which largely consists of Ugandan
      troops who have operated in a fashion that has drawn increasing
      attacks from the resistance movement in the capital Mogadishu. On
      September 29, Islamic resistance fighters fired on Ugandan, Ethiopian
      and Somali-puppet Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops
      resulting in the reported deaths of at least four people. Witnesses
      quoted in a Agence France Press (AFP) report on September 29, stated
      that two people and a soldier were killed in a series of gun battles
      during Sunday night, September 28.

      "Three people, one of them a Somali government soldier, died near
      Villa Baidoa when two mortar shells struck buildings," Hamad Ali
      Ahmed told AFP. During the same time period in the Holwadag district
      of Mogadishu, another person was killed in the crossfire and least
      seven people were wounded. Islamic resistance members confirmed that
      the attacks on the military bases of the pro-US forces is the result
      of a new offensive aimed at driving the Ethiopians, Ugandans and
      their Somali allies in the surrogate government out of the capital.
      According to Commander Mohamed Mohamud Dulyadeyn, "we attacked the
      bases of Ugandan forces, Ethiopians and Somali stooges. Five of our
      men were wounded, but they sustained heavy casualties." (AFP,
      September 29).

      Also on September 29, a roadside bomb struck Ethiopian troops in the
      capital of Mogadishu. The device exploded while Ethiopian soldiers
      were leaving an area near the presidential palace.

      "The bomb went of on foot soldiers at Debka junction, I don't know
      the casualities of the soldiers but five civilians were wounded in
      the blast, the Ethiopians didn't open fire on anyone," eyewitness
      Yonis Hussein told the Somali-based Shabelle Media Network.

      In the aftermath of the blast, Somali surrogate troops arrived at the
      scene and randonmly opened fire on commuters who were gathering in
      the area. No casualties were reported in the incident. The escalation
      of fighting between September 20-29 has sparked another large-scale
      exodus from Mogadishu. "From September 20, our figures show that
      18,500 people have fled their homes due to the fighting and
      shelling," said Ali Sheikh Yassin, the acting chair of the Elman
      Human Rights Organization in Mogadishu.

      "Heavy fighting and shelling went on in Hodan and Halwadag districts
      in south Mogadishu," Yassin said.

      The Elman Human Rights Oraganizaton chairperson said that many
      families could be seen on the roads moving rapidly out of the area.
      Journalists operating in the area confirmed the severity of the
      situation in south Mogadishu.

      "The area is emptying. Those who had not left before are on the move
      now. It is not going to be a very happy Eid (festivities after the
      month of Ramadan) for many." (IRIN Report, September 29).

      One of the important resistance organizations, The Alliance for the
      Re-liberation of Somalia, which is led by Sheikh Sharif Sheih Ahmed,
      and is currently engaging in discussions with the TFG, said that the
      actions of the Ethiopian and Ugandan troops and their local
      counterparts are totally unacceptable. The Alliance condemned the
      Ugandan troops and accused them of brutality and indiscriminate use
      of excessive force in areas occupied by the civilian population not
      involved in the fighting. In a statement on September 29, The
      Alliance stated that:

      "AMISOM (the African Union Mission in Somalia) used unnecessary force
      and targeted heavily populated quarters and markets far away from the
      fighting areas, which can only be taken as a deliberate mass
      killing."

      In response to the statement by The Alliance, AMISOM spokesman
      Barigye Ba-Hoku told the Inter-Regional Information Network (IRIN)
      that accusations of indiscriminate targeting of civilian "was
      nonsense."

      Ba-Hoku said that the AU forces did not initiate these attacks. "We
      only defend our positions when attacked," he said. The United Nations
      Refugee Agency, UNHCR, claims that Somali refugees are flooding the
      Dadaab camp in north-eastern Kenya.

      "This year alone we have registered more than 45,000 new asylum-
      seekers at Dadaab," the agency said in a statement.

      On average about 5,000 Somalis reach the camp every month. In other
      attacks, the Al-Shabab organization, which is a spin off from the
      Union of Islamic Courts, have carried out operations against four
      International Medical Corps (IMC) offices in the Bakool and Bay
      regions of Somalia.

      In a September 26 statement, the IMC said that the group "is deeply
      concerned about the impact of these attacks on the health of aleady
      suffering Somali people, especially children. Ongoing talks between
      the opposition forces and the TFG in neighboring Djibouti has failed
      to reach agreement on ending the fighting. According to a civil
      society activists close to the talks in Djibouti, "the main stumbling
      block is the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces."

      The activist told IRIN on September 23 that TFG "seemed to be trying
      to find a way for a less hurried withdrawal, while the Alliance for
      the Re-liberation of Somalia was demanding that the Ethiopian
      military withdraw from the country within 30 days.

      Humanitarian Situation Worsens As a result of the intense fighting,
      the main hospital in the capital of Mogadishu has been overwhelmed by
      the number of injured people caught up in the clashes.

      "We are receiving more injured people than we can reasonably handle;
      we are completely swamped," Abdi Mohamed Hangul, a doctor at Medina
      Hospital told IRIN on September 24. Dr. Hangul said that the numbers
      of injured people were increasing daily.

      "Last night alone (September 23) we had 30 people within an hour. I
      worked as a doctor throughout the civil war and I have to say this is
      one of the worst times for the population. It is a disaster."

      Hospital beds were completely filled and people were being treated
      for various injuries in the corridors and outside the facility under
      trees.

      "We have more people outside than inside," the physician said. Making
      the situation worse is the fact that some staff members are unable to
      come to work at the hospital due to the intense fighting. Despite the
      shortage in workers at the two main hospitals, Medina and Keysaney,
      the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson
      Pedram Yazdi, said that:

      "For the time being, the capital hospitals have enough medical
      supplies to cope with the influx of wounded, and we will re-supply
      them if more is needed." (IRIN Report, September 24).

      US Navy Responds to Attacks on Vessels

      Meanwhile off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden, there has
      been a number of ships seized by so-called pirates who hold these
      vessels and their crews for ransom. On September 29, a Ukrainian ship
      was being held with a large scale arsenal whose destiny was disputed.

      It was reported by Reuters press agency that aboard the Ukrainian
      ship there were grenade launchers and ammunition as well as T-72
      tanks. In response to these developments, the United States military,
      which is active in this region, has sent the USS Howard Destroyer and
      other boats of the Gulf-based Fifth Fleet to confront the hijacked
      Ukrainian ship.

      "There are now several Fifth Fleet ships in the vicinity," said the
      fleet's deputy spokesman Lieutenant Nathan Christensen. "Our goal is
      to maintain a vigilant and visual watch over the ship while
      negotiations take place."

      The Somalis holding the ship are demanding $20 million. The Gulf of
      Aden, which is located between the Yemen and northern Somalia, is a
      major artery utilized by approximately 20,000 vessels every year
      traveling to and from the Suez Canal. Somalis have seized 30 ships
      already since the beginning of the year.

      One of the main Islamic leaders, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys told
      Reuters on September 29 that his organization, which was associated
      with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), the front that was
      consolidating its power at the time of the US-backed invasion in
      December of 2006, that they were not involved in the ship seizures.

      "Piracy is not our hobby and we are sorry for being linked to
      everything that is bad." Aweys noted that during the rule of the UIC,
      piracy was substanially curtailed.

      Aweys noted however that "no one congratualated us," on these
      efforts. US Role Must be Condemned The escalation of fighting in
      Somalia, both on land and in the waterways surrounding this Horn of
      Africa nation, must be blamed on the foreign policy role of the
      United States.

      Under the guise of "fighting Islamic terrorism" the US has heightened
      destabilization and instability in Somalia and throughout the region.
      If was the Bush administration that engineered the invasion of
      Somalia by Ethiopia in late 2006, after the Union of Islamic Courts
      had made significant progress in organizing the population and
      establishing community development projects.

      Since the UIC efforts were taking place independent of US foreign
      policy imperatives, the imperialists set out to occupy the country
      utilizing a military surrogate under the leadership of Prime Minister
      Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

      Since this time Ugandan troops, operating ostensibly on behalf of the
      African Union, have been sent into the capital to back up the
      Ethiopian occupationists. Increasing attacks on vessels in the Gulf
      of Aden is now providing another rationale for US Naval operations.

      However, these efforts are doomed to failure. Anti-war and anti-
      imperialist forces inside the United States must raise the
      interventionist program of the government as a further manifestion of
      the bogus "global war on terrorism."

      Judging from the current situation in Somalia, the first step toward
      normalization and stability in the Horn of Africa will be the
      immediate withdrawal of US forces and the resumption of real
      negotiations between the various political forces inside the country
      and the region.

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