Friday, April 20, 2007

[wvns] Somalian Muslims Fight Ethiopian Troops

Report: 113 Slain over 3 days in Somalia
Associated Press
April 20, 2007

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Three days of fighting between Islamic insurgents
and Ethiopian troops backing the government has killed at least 113
civilians, a local human rights group said on Friday. The U.N. said
hundreds of thousands of residents had fled.

Sporadic fighting between Wednesday and Friday had wounded 229 people,
said Sudan Ali Ahmed, chairman of the decade-old Elman Human Rights
Organization. He said his organization collected the figures from
hospitals, local residents and its agents recording burials in the

"We condemn both sides of the conflict and call on them to immediately
stop the mass massacre in the capital," Ahmed told The Associated

On Friday, the U.N. refugee agency revised its estimates of people who
fled Mogadishu to 321,000 — more than one-tenth the total population
of about 2 million.

Mogadishu's streets have seen continuous fighting on Friday between
Ethiopian troops backing the government and insurgents, and civilians
are frequently caught in the crossfire. Four days of bloodshed last
month killed more than 1,000 civilians and wounded 4,300 in the
country's worst violence in more than 15 years.

Osman Abdi Wehliye, watching from his window on Friday, said he saw
Ethiopian troops shooting toward insurgent strongholds. Wehliye said
that the Ethiopians used tanks, mortars and machine guns.

Abdillahi Hassan Ali, whose home is on the insurgents' side of the
front line, said masked men were firing rocket launchers and
Kalashnikov assault rifles at the Ethiopians. The masked men also had
some pickups mounted with machine-guns. Whenever the Ethiopians fired
back, the insurgents would hide behind houses, Ali said.

The radical Somali Islamic movement was linked to al-Qaida by U.S. and
other counterterrorism experts. The U.S. State Department believes
al-Qaida operatives in Somalia are at least partially responsible for
the growing violence in Mogadishu. Diplomats have said, though, that
also involved in the violence are clan militias vying for power that
are not necessarily linked to the Islamic insurgents.

Somalia's transitional government was formed in 2004 with U.N. help
but has struggled to extend control over the country.



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