About a million people in southern (below Puntland and Somaliland)
Somalia are refugees and dependent on foreign food aid. That aid is
increasingly difficult to deliver. That's because many of the unemployed men among
the refugees have guns, and have become bandits and raiders. Some align
themselves with the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), to add a religious patina to
their depredations. But it's all the same banditry and looting. The bandits don't
seem to understand that raids on the foreign aid workers will interrupt the
flow of aid.
the United States and Britain are preparing a UN resolution giving them
authorization to suppress piracy along the Somali coast. Britain may not be
actively involved, as many of its diplomats believe attacks on the pirates may
violate their human rights, and that some of the pirates, if captured, may
2008: In Bosasso, Puntland, troops
seized the ship pirates had taken the day before, freeing the crew. The local
government disagreed with the pirates over how merchant ships, headed for Bosasso,
should be treated. Bosasso depends on seaborne trade to keep its economy going,
and has the guns to deal with the pirates.
2008: Over the weekend, there was intense fighting in Mogadishu, as Transitional
National Government (TNG) gunmen and Ethiopian soldiers encountered stiff
resistance in a neighborhood they were clearing of hostile clansmen. There were
several hundred casualties, with nearly a hundred dead, most of them civilians.
The Ethiopians use tanks and artillery, and shoot everyone if they are fired
on. Somali gunmen will hide among civilians, an old trick the Ethiopians are on
to. Meanwhile, a mobile (in a dozen or so trucks) group of Islamic Courts Union
(ICU) raiders hit two more towns in the last few days, killing those who
resisted and looting what they wanted (food, fuel and ammo, for the most part.)
Several hundred hostile (to the TNG) civilians are living in refugee camps
along the main road leading inland from Mogadishu. Armed men from these camps
raid into Mogadishu and into interior towns. Such raiding is traditional. The
clans driven out of Mogadishu are desperate to get back in, and are willing to
continue fighting for it. But first they have to get rid of the Ethiopian
troops, who are as ruthless as the Somalis, but better armed, organized and
Puntland, off the coast of Bosasso, pirates seized a Dubai cargo ship carrying
food for sale in Somalia.
2008: Somali pirates seized a Spanish fishing boat 400 kilometers off the
coast. A Spanish frigate has been ordered to the Red Sea to offer aid.
2008: The six Somali pirates captured last week by French commandoes insist
that they are part of the "sea militia" (coast guard.) Somalis in the area
where the pirates were captured, are demanding compensation from the French
government, for death and damage done by the French troops during the rescue.
2008: Islamic militants raided the town of Baladwayne, near the Ethiopian
border, and killed four foreign teachers (two Britons and two Kenyans.) The
Islamic radicals are particularly hostile to non-religious education. The two
Britons were Somalis who had emigrated to Britain, gotten an education, and
returned to establish a school. The Islamic militants deny that they targeted the
teachers, and insist the victims were caught in the cross fire. One of the dead
teachers had converted to Christianity, and such conversions are punished by
death by Islamic radicals.
2008: French commandoes swept in right after the $2 million ransom was paid to
pirates in Puntland, and rescued the 30 members of the cruise ship "Le
Ponant". Some ten percent of the ransom, and six of the pirates, was
captured. Most of the pirates got away.