Somalia: Dying For Clean Underwear

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October 11, 2007: Fighting in Mogadishu caused nearly 400 casualties last month, and the fighting continues, although at a reduced pace. The Transitional Government, however, has negotiated a truce with the Hawiye clan, which has long dominated Mogadishu. The Ethiopian and government strategy of attacking neighborhoods (usually Hawiye) that hostile gunmen were hiding out in, was forcing hundreds of Hawiye out of the city each day. With the truce, some calm has returned to the city. Several of the Hawiye militias are now gunning for the Islamic terrorists, who appear to have fled the city, or gone into hiding. In return, the government has called on its troops to stop looting, and shooting, in Hawiye neighborhoods. The terrorists appear to be concentrating on assassination attempts, against senior government leaders. A suicide car bomber tried to get at the Transitional Government prime minister, and failed. The Hawiye leaders insist that much of the violence against police or soldiers is caused by criminal gangs, angry at their business operations being interfered with. This may be the case, for there is a decline in obviously terrorist operations, like the recent murder of two women, accused of being too close to Ethiopian soldiers (as prostitutes or doing laundry is unclear, either is a capital crime to Islamic radicals).

 

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