Slain Ethiopian soldier dragged through streets

Civilians dragged the body of an Ethiopian soldier through the streets of Somalia’s capital on Thursday after fighting with insurgents killed a second soldier and civilian, witnesses said.

In the grisly incident, more than 100 civilians stepped and spat on the scarred body as they dragged it for several kilometres on a pot-holed asphalt road from Mogadishu’s Suqaholaha district to Barubah, an Agence France-Presse correspondent reported.

“We will fight against the Ethiopia colonisers and we will kill them like this” and “Down with Ethiopia, Allah is great”, they chanted in native Somali language.

The slain soldier—clad only in camouflage trousers and his body badly scarred—was among two Ethiopians and a civilian killed in heavy fighting that rocked northern Mogadishu’s Suqaholaha district earlier in the day, witnesses said.

“After the fighting, Ethiopian forces came and collected the body of one of their own killed in front of my door,” said resident Ali Nur Yayah, referring to the second soldier. “Five civilians were also wounded in the fighting.”

Another resident, Hussein Mohamad, said he “saw the body of a slain man in civilian clothes at the battlefield”.

The incident comes nearly a week after insurgents paraded three Ethiopian troops through the streets of Mogadishu in a scene somewhat reminiscent of 1993, when the bodies of United States special forces taking part in a doomed operation were famously torn to pieces and paraded in the streets.

Ethiopian troops have been intensifying their operation against Islamist rebels in recent days in a bid to break the back of an insurgency that has plagued efforts to stabilise the transitional government for months.

The Ethiopian army came to the rescue of the embattled Somali government last year to oust an Islamist militia that briefly controlled large parts of the country and sought to impose Islamic law.

The Islamic Courts Union was defeated earlier this year, but its remnants and allied tribes have since waged a guerrilla war against their enemies.

Bloody clan feuds following the 1991 ousting of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre escalated into a civil war that continues to defy every peace initiative.—Sapa-AFP

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