Somalia: January 16, 2003


: At least they're trying - Foreign affairs ministers from Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia met in Nairobi, Kenya on the 16th, to discuss the obstacles facing the ongoing Somalia peace talks. The Somali leaders participating in the talks had recently lost hope.

Meanwhile, the Suleyman and Murusade subclans who have been killing each other in Mogadishu recently reached a comprehensive and supposedly final agreement at city's Sahafi Hotel on the 14th. Peace activists, wise men and religious leaders from both sides attended the signing, which was a culmination of series of meetings between elders of the two subclans. The subclans agreed to have their affairs run in accordance with the sharia law. The Murusade and Suleyman, who have been involved in persistent gun battles in the city, have set up committees to monitor activities of the two subclans. 

However, there is always someone willing to set things back a step or two. The 14 January attack on the bus may be more than simple banditry, since those killed and wounded are said to include Asharaf clan elders and intellectuals who had been mediating between rival leaders Shaykh Adan Madobe and Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud (the ousted leader of the southwestern Somali regional administration). These two had been fighting in Bay Region.

HornAfrik Radio, a major broadcasting station in Mogadishu, went off the air at 4:30 PM January 10th and didn't resume broadcasting until the 11th, because heavily armed militiamen in several "technicals" shot up the station and terrorized the staff on duty. The attacking forces allegedly included guards of interim president Abdiqasim Salad Hasan under the command of infamous Mogadishu business tycoon Muhammad Daylaf. The privately-owned Hornafrik Radio and Television station had quoted a book by an Ethiopian author, in which it is alleged that Mohamed Daylaf has business relations with a militant Somali Islamic group known as Al-Ittihad al-Islamia. The United States has charged that this group has links to Al-Qaeda. The interim president had been threatening to arrest the HornAfrik radio station management. - Adam Geibel




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