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

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

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

Eight dead in Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon stadium crush

Cameroonian President Paul Biya ordered an investigation into the tragedy that occurred on Monday as crowds attempted to enter the Olembe Stadium in the capital Yaounde to watch the host nation play the Comoros

Trends that will revolutionise the retail sector in 2022

From social selling and greenwashing to downtrading, analysts outline 2022 trends for the retail sector

Andile Zulu: Sisulu obfuscates the true nature of power in...

Power in post-apartheid South Africa lies with the party, the state and capital. The tourism minister masks her complicity with bad governance, and being part of the economic and political elite.

Malawi’s flame ignited at Afcon

From being underwhelming underdogs going into the tournament to reaching the round of 16, the Flames have shown discipline, flair and dedication, to the utter delight of their fans.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×