Somalia: Martial Law and the Search for Weapons


January15, 2007: Raids to seize weapons continued in Mogadishu. The only resistance was the occasional gunman shooting at Ethiopian troops. Somali gunmen are noted for their lack of accuracy, and shooting at the Ethiopians gets you a lot more fire in return. This often hits civilians, which makes the lone gunmen very unpopular. The Ethiopians are already unpopular, and have been for centuries. The clan animosities remain, with, or without, the Islamic Courts. It's largely a question of how long it will be until major clan warfare breaks out. If the Transitional Government can, like the Islamic Courts, put together a military force (a few thousand reliable men will do) strong enough to put down clan wars, then there will be peace (or at least a lot more peace than there normally is.

January 14, 2007: The Transitional Government parliament in Baidoa authorized a state of martial law for the country, until some form of peace was imposed. Meanwhile, small groups of American and British commandos are working with Ethiopian troops to find al Qaeda terrorists.

January 12, 2007: Nearly all the warlords based in the Mogadishu area have agreed to surrender their heavy weapons and join the Transitional Government. This gives the new government the support of the majority of militiamen in the area, forcing the pro-Islamic Courts groups to settle, or fight an unequal fight. Further south, Ethiopian and Somali troops captured the last Islamic Courts stronghold at Ras Kamboni.

January 11, 2007: In Mogadishu, neighborhoods of clans loyal to the Islamic Courts, were searched for weapons. Gunfire and some explosions could be heard through the city. Islamic Courts diehards pledged to fight a guerilla war, but residents doubted there were enough men, with enough organization and skill, to carry that off. Meanwhile, the U.S. believes it's air strike on the 8th missed the senior al Qaeda leaders it was seeking. That means the men may still be in the area, and worth a lot more alive, if they can be caught. On the border, Kenyan police arrested the wives of two al Qaeda leaders, as the women and their children tried to flee to safety in Kenya. The women are being questioned.

January 10, 2007: Sudan supports the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. Sudan doesn't border Somalia, but is the western border of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

A small force of American Special Forces went to the Kenyan border, to collect DNA evidence from eight men killed in a U.S. air strike on the 8th. Five men were captured at the site as well.




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