Little relief in Ramadan for war-weary Mogadishu

Gun battles in Mogadishu killed at least six people early on Friday and residents said they feared Ramadan would bring no let up in a months-long insurgency that has battered the Somali capital.

Four civilians and two government soldiers died in the overnight clashes between the security forces and Islamist-led guerrillas, which came hours after the interim government lifted a dusk-to-dawn curfew that had been in place since June.

Witnesses said the dead were carted away on wheelbarrows.

Sitting outside his home in a city backstreet, Osman Muhammed Mudey had little hope of a lull in the violence.

”I don’t think the groups will stop fighting during Ramadan, because those who do not respect human life will not respect Ramadan,” the 38-year-old father of four said with a shrug.

Walking to a nearby market to buy supplies for the big evening meal that follows daylight fasting, Kasho Ahmed told Reuters that residents were praying to Allah to end the bloodshed.

”In Islam, it is totally wrong to fight during the holy month,” she said, clutching the hand of her five-year-old son.

Ramadan began on Thursday, a day after Somali opposition figures formed a new alliance in Eritrea that vowed to wage war on Ethiopian troops supporting Somalia’s government.

Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi rejected the new movement — which counts Islamist leaders and former government officials among its ranks — and he slammed Eritrea for hosting the opposition talks and ”creating violence in the Horn of Africa”.

The Asmara conference was due to end on Friday, and Eritrean state media said Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, an ex-leader of Somalia’s Islamic Courts movement, had been elected alliance chairperson.

Organisers of the meeting refused to confirm that and said the delegates were still locked up in closed-door negotiations.

Ahmed’s sharia courts group was routed from Mogadishu over the New Year by government forces and the Ethiopian military.

The forging of the alliance provides yet another bone of contention between long-time foes Asmara and Addis Ababa, analysts say, and is likely to push back any prospect of desperately needed reconciliation in Somali politics.

Washing clothes in bright sunshine outside her home in Somalia’s coastal capital, housewife Fatuma Ali said the move did not give her hope that calm would return to Mogadishu soon.

”Since the Asmara groups decided to liberate the country from the Ethiopians, I don’t think fighting will stop, even though it is Ramadan,” she said. — Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Lights, camera, action!

Meet Kuda Jemba, the emerging film director who went from directing music videos for some of SA’s biggest stars to directing Kelly Khumalo’s upcoming reality show

Is the US supreme court bent on doing harm?

Two recent rulings by America’s apex court are profoundly troubling

War on diamonds: Toil and triumph on the rich barren...

“I’m willing to take a bullet” says Northern Cape natives who claim the land, and its diamonds, belong to them.

Shell v Wild Coast: Science, research and erring on the...

Court applicants have argued that the company should be required to conduct an environmental impact assessment, based on the best available science, which has advanced considerably since Shell’s permit to conduct seismic surveys was granted
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×