Tuesday, April 3, 2007
With Amy Goodman
"Nearly 400 civilians have been killed and over 550 wounded in fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian-backed troops in the Somali capital Mogadishu since Thursday, according to a local human rights group.
The toll, from the Elman Peace and Human Rights Organisation, was the first comprehensive count of casualties from what aid agencies are calling the worst fighting in Somalia in 15 years.
Nearly 50,000 people have fled Mogadishu in the last 10 days, according to the United Nations refugee agency. A total of 96,000 people left their homes during February and March.
Ethiopian tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships have fought against guerillas armed with machine guns, missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. The guerrilla forces comprise fighters allied to the Somali Council of Islamic Courts and clan militias who are opposed to the transitional government and the Ethiopian occupation.
A lull in fighting on Monday gave residents a chance to pull several hundred bodies from the streets. Local hospitals have been overwhelmed with casualties......
AMY GOODMAN: A small African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia of some 1,200 Ugandan soldiers has failed to stem the violence. While the four days of fierce fighting subsided after a truce was negotiated Sunday, hundreds more Ethiopian troops have been seen arriving in Mogadishu over the weekend.
Salim Lone is a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya and a former spokesperson for the UN mission in Iraq. We’re going to go to break. When we come back, we’ll talk about what’s happening in Somalia, also in Iraq......
SALIM LONE: You know, you describe the terrible scenes that are going on in Mogadishu. I just want to add that this is not only a terrible war, but also the most lawless war. It violates clearly -- the invasion by Ethiopia -- the UN Charter. The support of the US on the attacks by the US violated the UN Charter. But, in addition, there are two explicit UN resolutions by Security Council that this violates. The UN Security Council resolution in December said there should be no troops from regional -- neighboring countries going into Somalia as part of a peacekeeping force. And yet we have Ethiopian troops there, not as part of a peacekeeping force.
It’s also turned the whole region into a giant Guantanamo Bay. Human Rights Watch reported that over 100 people were kidnapped in Kenya. Kenya, the most stable and a very law-abiding country in Africa, was forced to kidnap suspected supporters of the ICU, the Islam Courts, and to hand them over to Somalia, which in turn handed most of them over to Ethiopia, where they have disappeared. So this is really a terrible war.
And another reason it’s so terrible is because for six months last year, from June to December, as reported by Democracy Now!, as reported by the New York Times, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Xinhua News Agency, every media in the world reported that the Islamic Courts Union had brought a high level of stability to Somalia, and they had done so without the massive use of force. So this is just, you know, a classic example of the US overreaching, relentless drive for domination, rather than caring for the stability and security of small nations......"
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