Somalia: So Many Ways To Die

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February15, 2007: In addition to the cholera outbreak, Somalis are also dying trying to reach Yemen by boat. At least 30 people drowned, most of them Somalis, when one of those smugglers boats went down off Yemen. If they made it to Yemen, smugglers would provide continued illegal travel to sanctuary in Europe, or even North America. Meanwhile, the first 1,500 UN peacekeepers, from Uganda, are on their way to Mogadishu, and are expected to arrive within the week. Eventually, the African Union hopes to gave 8,000 peacekeepers in Somalia, but so far, only 4,000 have been pledged by various nations.

February 12, 2007: Clan militiamen, who supported the Islamic Courts, are now attacking the homes of opponents, and this has caused hundreds of civilians to flee Mogadishu, to escape a feared escalation in the fighting. The Transitional Government is still operating out of Baidoa, because Mogadishu is not considered safe. The temporary peace that the Islamic Courts brought to Mogadishu was the result of bringing in more gunmen to give the pro-Islamic Courts clans in the city a decisive edge on the street. That edge is gone, and the Mogadishu clans are now battling over a new allocation of turf.

February 11, 2007: The mad mortar man of Mogadishu continues his daily attacks. One or two shells are fired at civilian targets each day. The few remaining Ethiopian troops are not attacked, probably because the Ethiopians are quick to fight back. The mortar is believed to belong to one of the clan militias. The Transitional Government does not have the armed manpower to control the streets, so the various clan militias are trying to stake out turf they can control for their own financial benefit. This is usually done by making deals with businesses and foreign aid organizations (NGOs) in the neighborhoods, to see how much protection money will be paid.

February 8, 2007: The senior Islamic Courts leader, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, has arrived in Yemen, from Kenya, and been granted permission to live in Yemen. In Mogadishu, violence is increasing, including someone firing one or two mortar shells each day. Meanwhile, a more lethal threat has arrived, in the form of a cholera outbreak. Several dozen people are dying each day from disease, far more than the street violence is killing.

 

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