Somalia: Emptying Mogadishu


November 26, 2007: The fighting in Mogadishu has made it difficult to get relief supplies into the city. That's mainly because the larger number of armed bands wandering around, mean more road blocks, and bribes to be paid to pass. The business community has had to renegotiate security deals, since the Islamic Courts, and their clan backers, lost control of the city.

November 25, 2007: The fighting in Mogadishu has caused over half the population (of one million) to flee. The Islamic militant militias are trying to prevent clans from outside the city, from taking over. But the Ethiopian troops allied with the provisional government are too much for the clan militias. The Ethiopians continue to attack neighborhoods where the Islamic militants have found refuge, ordering the civilians to either turn in the militants, or flee. It's safer to run. There are now at least a million refugees in Somalia, about ten percent of the population. Most of them are from Mogadishu, which has been losing people at the rate of 10-20,000 a day recently.

November 22, 2007: A new prime minister of the Transitional Government, Nour Hassan Hussain, was appointed. The previous one left because of disagreements over power sharing. The new guy was the head of the Somali Red Crescent Society, and a long time government bureaucrat (back when there was a government.) Nothing is expected to change here.

November 21, 2007: The pirate situation has gotten worse, because several large ransoms (over a million dollars) have been paid this year. This encourages warlords to equip a large ship to carry speed boats and gunmen far outside territorial waters in search of lucrative targets (cargo ships are more valuable than fishing boats). There's a lot of traffic going into the Red Sea and down the coast of Africa. All this traffic also makes it difficult for the informal fleet of foreign warships off the coast, to find the pirate "mother ships," or catch pirates in the act. Meanwhile, a French warship has agreed to escort food aid shipments from Kenya to Somalia, for the next two months. These food ships have been attacked by the pirates as well.

November 18, 2007: Islamic militants attacked the camp of Ugandan peacekeepers, and were driven off. One of the Islamic militants was killed, and several wounded. There were no Ugandan casualties.


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