10 April 2007

A thousand killed in Mogadishu fighting

According to the Hawiye clan, one of the major clans of Mogadishu, 1,000 people were killed in recent fighting between Somalian government troops and the Ethiopian army on the one hand, and Islamists, as well as Hawiye fighters, on the other.

Ethiopia backs the recently installed Somalian government, while its regional rival Eritrea has started backing the Islamist Somalian opposition (and former rulers of Mogadishu), the Union of Islamic Courts.

This is the worst fighting in Somalia in the last 15 years. The high number of casualties was partly the result of Ethiopia's use of artillery against Islamists who had taken cover in residential areas.

The African Union plans to eventually take over the role of supporting the Somalian government from Ethiopia, but the process has been slow so far (BBC).

Surely, countries as poor as Ethiopia (ranked 170th in the world in the UNDP's Human Development Index) and Eritrea (ranked 157th) have better things to do than to fight a proxy war in Somalia. I think the AU should send in not 8,000 soldiers, as it's planning to do, but rather something like 30,000-40,000, and completely secuere the country. And most of the soldiers outght to be Muslims, to avoid giving the Union of Islamic Courts an excuse for further resistance.

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