Somalia: February 1, 2003


: Despite tribal leadership attempts to stabilize the situation, Somalia continues to be a land of confusion. In its Annual Piracy Report released on January 30, the International Maritime Bureau [IMB] highlighted the growing danger to merchant ships making an unscheduled stop or slow down along the coast of Somalia of being boarded by armed militiamen.

If Allied Forces in Djibouti have to go into Somalia for whatever reason, the clearest picture of the various militia confrontations will be vital to successful operations. A small example of the chaos can be found at Baidoa (around 200km northwest of Mogadishu), the capital of the new State of Southwest Somali (SWS). At least 6 people were killed and numerous others injured in the latest clashes that broke out in the capital during the night of the 29th. RRA (Rahnweyn Resistance Army) forces under Hassan Mohamed Nur (better known as Shatigudud) had attacked a checkpoint southwest of the town manned by loyalists of his two former lieutenants (Sheikh Aden Mabode and Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade). From there, the fighting had spread from there to an area near a football stadium.

The Shatigudud militias were trying to exploit Habisdi's absence, who in Mogadishu for talks with the Somali President, in the hope that he would get control back on Baidoa. Shatigadud forces had been fighting with Madobe/Habsade forces in the Baidoa area since March 2002. - Adam Geibel

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