The Islamic Courts terrorists in
Somalia have found a new ally in their war against other Somalis and Ethiopian
troops. A UN security official in Somalia sent an email that accused the Somali
government and Ethiopian troops of
committing war crimes. He based his accusations on rumors and second
hand accounts from pro-Islamic Courts witnesses. These accusations are being
taken seriously by the UN, and the Transitional Somali government and Ethiopia
have been warned that they may face a war crimes investigation, and possible
charges. However, the UN has no military force in Somalia that could move such
an investigation forward. There are 1,500 Ugandan peacekeepers in Somalia, the
vanguard of an eventual force of 8,000. But these troops work for the African
Union, and may not be willing to handle a UN war crimes investigation.
The essence of the war crimes allegations appears
to be that the Islamic Courts, in a move Somalis have used for a long time,
tried to hide their gunmen behind women and children. This does rarely works
against a Somali foe, but sometimes works against foreigners. In one 1993
incident, Somalis used this tactic to get the drop on Pakistani peacekeepers,
and killed 24 of them. In any event, the Ethiopians were having none of it,
and, like other Somalis, fired at the civilians to take out the enemy gunmen.
The Ethiopians also used bombs and artillery against gunmen hiding among
civilians. Ethiopians have been fighting Somalis for centuries.
April 5, 2007: Somalia's Sheik Adan Mohammed Nuur
came to Eritrea to "discuss Somalia's problems." Nuur is an Islamist leader and
now a key Somali opposition leader. Eritrea backed the former Somali Islamist
government. Eritrea now wants Ethiopia to pull its troops from Somalia.
Ethiopia claims it will pull its troops out. Ethiopia planned on having most of
its troops out of Somalia by March. However, the African Union peacekeeping
force that was to replace the Ethiopian forces has been slow to arrive.
April 3, 2007: Eritrea sent Uganda a message that
said Uganda had made "a hasty step" (ie, a mistake) in sending peacekeepers to
Somalia. Eritrea urged Uganda to pull its 1600 troops out of Somalia. Uganda's
President Yoweri Museveni had asked Eritrea to stop backing Islamic militias in
Ethiopia claimed a "major victory" in another
"proxy war" with Eritrea. Ethiopia claimed that its military forces had
conducted an operation against a group called the Patriotic Front in the Gondar
region. The Ethiopian forces killed 23 "Eritrean-backed" guerrillas. 18 more
were captured. Ethiopia frequently claims rebels receive aid from Eritrea.
Sometimes they actually do. In late March Ethiopia asked the UN to take action.
Ethiopia claimed that Eritrea is "organizing, arming and training"
anti-Ethiopian "elements" (ie, rebels).
March 29, 2007:
Oromo Liberation Army (OLA - the OLF's "military wing") killed three
Ethiopian soldiers and wounded eight more in a firefight that took place in Horro Guduru province (northwestern