Somalia: November 22, 2003

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At least eight people were killed and over 10 wounded when  heavy fighting between two clans broke out in the southern coastal town of Marka (100 kilometers south of the capital Mogadishu). The clashes were triggered when one clan chieftain imposed taxes on goods imported or exported through Marka port. Businessmen from another clan were planning to export huge quantities of bananas to Arab countries, and objected enough to send in their militia to take over one of the chieftain's checkpoints. 

"They therefore wanted to take control of the port. This is all about bananas and money. You can call it a banana war. But neither side is in control of the port," the aid worker added.

The fighting has now subsided, but the businessmen's militia had lost two technicals and a Landcruiser. Both sides had withdrawn from the town and were said to be waiting for reinforcements. - Adam Geibel

 

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