Somalia: Massing Forces For a Big Battle


October 3, 2006: The Islamic courts are uniting all the clan and warlord militias loyal to it, and forming a united army. The Transitional Government is still trying to get foreign peacekeepers to come to their aid. Some Ugandan troops have arrived, and these appear to be an advance party for more troops. Ethiopian troops are still helping to defend the Transitional Government stronghold in the town of Baidoa.
October 2, 2006: Islamic Courts gunmen arrived on the Ethiopian border, to try and mediate the clan dispute over land use, but withdrew when Ethiopian troops showed up.
October 1, 2006: On the Ethiopian border, two clans fought for control of grazing land. There were some sixty casualties, about a third of them dead.
September 30, 2006: Islamic Courts gunmen put down protests by angry civilians in the southern port of Kismayo. Several civilians were shot, and many more arrested. Kismayo was a pretty peaceful place, but the local religious leaders were of the more traditional, and moderate, type common in Somalia. The Islamic Courts practice a more conservative form of Islam (imported from, and subsidized by, Saudi Arabia).
A key village in the west, controlling one of the few roads from Ethiopia, was seized by Islamic Courts gunmen, after a brief battle with fighters loyal to the Transitional Government. At least four died in the fighting.
September 29, 2006: In the southern port of Kismayo, a local radio station was shut down, and journalists arrested, to stop reporting that supported resistance to the Islamic Courts.
September 28, 2006: In Baidoa, police arrested three Islamic radicals, and seized bomb making materials. The three are accused of involvement with the earlier assassination attempt against the president of the Transitional Government.
September 27, 2006: Uganda says it will send 1,000 peacekeepers to Somalia, but only if every faction in the country accepts that. The Islamic Courts oppose any peacekeepers, while the Transitional Government favors such intervention.


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