Somalia: January 21, 2005


The desecration of the Italian cemetery turned out to be part of a real estate scam. Young gunmen were hired to clear out the graves in the Italian cemetery, which lies on some prime real estate. Land speculators believe that there will soon be a return to law and order, and land prices will rise sharply. The cemetery plan backfired, however, with local political, religious and warlord leaders condemning the cemetery desecration. Apparently half the 1,400 graves were dug up, and local religious leaders say the remains will be reburied. Somali leaders fear that this will make it more difficult to get foreign nations to send peacekeepers to help control the violence. They are right, as many foreign nations see this latest incident as evidence of how totally out of control Somalia still is.


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