Somalia: Now It's Jihad


April 27, 2006: The fighting in Mogadishu continues, but at a low level. It's mostly skirmishing and maneuvering so far, with only a few casualties a day. The Islamic Courts have an edge in discipline and numbers, but appear wary because their opponents have support from the United States. Exactly how extensive that support is, is unclear. But the Islamic Courts leaders know about smart bombs and American Special Forces, and want avoid encountering either.

April 23, 2006: Fighting has resumed in Mogadishu, with at least seven killed and many more wounded.

April 22, 2006: The first class of Somali police, 140 men and 19 women, graduated from a police academy in Kenya. About 20 percent of those selected for training failed to complete it for one reason or another. All of the new police will be sent to Baidoa, where the transitional government has officially established the national government. The traditional capital, Mogadishu, is thought to be too dangerous for the government to operate from. Eventually, the government hopes to have 12,000 trained police. Getting the money for this, from foreign donors, will depend on how well these first graduates do.

April 21, 2006: Rival militias have been seen moving into position to renew their fighting in Mogadishu. Thousands of civilians are fleeing the areas most likely to become combat zones. The Islamic Courts have officially declared a "Jihad" (holy war) against the warlords that oppose them. These warlords have received financial, and other, support from the United States, as part of a counter-terrorism operation. The Islamic Courts support Islamic radicals and are believed to be harboring Islamic terrorists.

April 20, 2006: The transitional government announced that it had given the U.S. Navy permission to patrol Somali waters and deal with any pirates it encountered. The U.S. Navy got the message via media reports, just like everyone else, and responded that it had had no talks with anyone in the Somali government, and had no plans to patrol Somali territorial waters. The U.S. Navy is patrolling outside those waters, where pirates have been attacking ships in international waters.


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