Somalia: Gold Teeth Declared Un-Islamic

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August 12, 2009: The violence continues in Mogadishu, with daily bouts of gunfire and mortar shells going off. Several times a week, al Shabaab sets off a roadside bomb. Although usually intended for soldiers or peacekeepers, these bombs usually end up killing nearby civilians. In the south, al Shabaab halted operations of four NGOs (the American Mercy Corps, Italy’s Cooperazione Internazionale, plus two British groups Oxfam and Muslim Aid) and have been looting their compounds and warehouses.

Al Shabaab has declared gold and silver teeth as un-Islamic, and are removing such teeth with pliers. It's unknown if the precious metals are being melted down and sold. Apparently only one al Shabaab faction is doing this tooth extraction, and al Shabaab media spokesmen refuse to comment on the practice. Not all al Shabaab factions agree on tactics, or theology, and the overall leadership spends a lot of time keeping the factions from fighting each other.

August 11, 2009: Four foreign aid workers, and two Kenyan pilots, were released after being held captive since last November. It is assumed that ransom was paid. Some 350 kilometers north of Mogadishu, government forces drove al Shabaab from the town of El Dher.

August 8, 2009: In the central Somalia port town of Haradheere (300 kilometers north of Mogadishu), rival clans fought over land and other disputes, causing over fifty casualties during several days of fighting. The town is a pirate base.

August 6, 2009: The U.S. will increase its next arms shipment to the Transitional Government, from 40 to 80 tons. The last shipment, of 40 tons, arrived in June. Fighting in Mogadishu left ten dead, while the head of the Provisional Government met with U.S. officials in Kenya.

In the last two years, the U.S. has provided about $150 million to support the AU peacekeeping operation in Mogadishu. The U.S. also provides most of the food aid, which keeps several million Somalis alive. Far more is being spent on anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast.

 

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