All entries for Monday 05 June 2006

June 05, 2006

Islamist militia take control of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital

After week of renewed violence that the media have largely ignored, the Somalian militia of the Union of Islamist Courts, fighting the traditional warlords entrenched in the capital, have declared their control of Mogadishu.

Some info on who this group is can be found here.

Somalia has been without effective government since 1991, and clan rivalries still dominate. The warlords that effectively destroyed the previous dictatorship have been in control of the capital for 15 years, but apparantly, that's come to an end.

The Union of Islamists Courts have gained strength and support from the population simply because they offer hope of stability. However, the worry is that members of the group are pushing for a full blown Islamist state, while the impotent "transitional government" lies helplessly in some town called Baidoa, which is lining up to be the next target.

This is particularly concerning for the US who are rumoured to be financially supporting the warlords in their fight against the militia, on the back of fears of Al–Qaeda links and terrorist training camps within Somalian borders.

As always, the general population suffer the most. On top of this, Mogadishu is the only capital in the world where the UN humanitarian staff do not have access. With an estimated 250,000 people displaced and a shortfall of $191 million of the $326 million the UN says is urgently needed, the situation is dire.


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