Somalia: I Think We Won

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May 2, 2007: About a third of Mogadishus population fled during the fighting, but now some of those 360,000 refugees are returning. The two weeks of fighting caused about 4,000 casualties, including some 1,200 dead. Most were civilians, caught in the crossfire. The Islamic Courts militias, who led the resistance, often took cover among civilians. This is a common Somalis combat tactic, at least when fighting foreigners. It didn't work against the Ethiopians.

May 1, 2007: AU peacekeepers began patrols in Mogadishu. The 1,600 Ugandan peacekeepers had stayed in their camp during the two weeks of violence. April 30, 2007: Once more, the government is demanding that civilians disarm, or at least give up anything larger than a pistol or rifle (like machine-guns, RPGs and mortars). After two weeks of fighting, the Mogadishu clans that backed the Islamic Courts are in no position to resist again. Some Islamic militants, however, are insisting that they will resist. That, and attempts to stop looters, apparently explains the occasional gunfire still heard in the city.

April 29, 2007: Foreign aid workers are complaining that, while the new government stopped the looting and extortion that the Islamic Courts were committing against aid operations, the government is now making its own demands. Aid groups are being told they must give a portion, of the aid they bring in, to the government. This is considered a "tax", and refusal to pay will cause aid operations to be shut down.

April 28, 2007: As the gunfire declined, the looters came out, many of them wearing uniforms and driving their goodies away in military trucks.

April 26, 2007: The government says the Islamic Courts and rebellious clans have been defeated, and the government, with the help of Ethiopian troops, are in control of the entire city of Mogadishu. There is still some gunfire, but it's pretty clear who won the ten day long battle. Ethiopian tanks and artillery, and better trained infantry, methodically wiped out the clan militiamen who tried to take control of some Mogadishu neighborhoods.

 

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