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/ 29 May 2008

Deadly crossing kills thousands of refugees

On a beach in Bosaso, north-east Somalia, near the tip of the Horn of Africa, dozens of Somali and Ethiopian refugees perch on rocks or squat in the sand, peering across the Gulf of Aden to the promised land. They are waiting for boats to carry them to Yemen and away from a life of miserable poverty, persecution and a war in Somalia.

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/ 26 May 2008

No solution but war, says Somali Islamist leader

There is ”no solution but war” to solve Somalia’s problems, and Somali Islamists must re-arm and fight, a long-time hard-line Islamist leader linked to al-Qaeda said on Monday. In a rare interview, Sheikh Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki urged the United Nations not to send soldiers to shore up an African Union peacekeeping force.

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/ 19 May 2008

UN: Millions of Somalis could face food crisis

The United Nations food agency warned on Monday that war-torn Somalia could plunge into an acute humanitarian crisis if the unrest, drought, soaring prices and weak currency escalate. ”The humanitarian situation in Somalia is deteriorating quickly due to soaring food prices, a significantly devalued Somali shilling and worsening drought,” the agency said.

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/ 16 May 2008

Somali foes issue joint humanitarian plea

The Somali government and the main political opposition issued a rare joint statement on Friday calling on all sides to allow humanitarian access to the country’s war-torn population. The declaration was distributed by the office of United Nations envoy to Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, who is mediating talks between the rivals.

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/ 6 May 2008

Amnesty: Civilians targeted in Somalia conflict

All parties in Somalia’s conflict have carried out rights abuses including executions, rape and torture, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, adding there were reports Ethiopian soldiers had slit civilians’ throats. Mogadishu’s whole population is scarred from witnessing or suffering such abuses, it said in its 32-page report.

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/ 19 April 2008

US envoy calls for more focus on Somalia

The United Nations special envoy for Somalia was in Washington on Friday to press for more attention on efforts to stabilise the country. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah says that the West needs to exert leverage on power brokers in Somalia who have bank accounts abroad. Western countries can also help mobilise Somali expatriate communities to support peace talks.

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/ 18 April 2008

Somali cops free detained journalists

Police in Somalia have released five journalists and allowed their radio station to resume broadcasting, members of staff said on Friday. The Radio Voice Peace journalists were released overnight hours after they were detained for the station’s coverage of an attack on Wednesday night by Islamist insurgents in Mogadishu’s KM4 neighbourhood.

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/ 14 April 2008

Schoolteachers killed in attack in Somalia

A British schoolteacher, her two female Kenyan colleagues and a Somali headmaster were killed in an overnight attack in central Somalia blamed on Islamist insurgents, witnesses said on Monday. The four were killed when suspected rebels attacked and briefly took control of Beledweyne, the capital of Somalia’s Hiraan region.

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/ 7 April 2008

Somali officials back assault on pirates

Somali officials on Monday urged tough action against pirates holding a French yacht after an elite French army unit was placed on standby to intervene if negotiations failed. The local governor in Somalia’s breakaway northern region of Puntland, Musa Ghelle Yusuf, said he would be "happy … to see the pirates killed".

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/ 7 April 2008

Blast kills civilians in Somali town

Three Somali civilians were killed and six others wounded on Sunday when an explosion rocked the southern town of Baidoa, witnesses said, in what an official described as a suspected Islamist attack. ”The three were killed [when] a heavy explosion hit the main street in Baidoa,” Ali Hassan Moalim, a witness, said.

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/ 2 April 2008

Somali Islamist leader commits to new peace plan

Somalia’s top exiled Islamist leader on Wednesday pledged his camp’s commitment to a new peace drive but warned the movement would keep up its struggle against what it calls Ethiopian occupation. "Members of the international community are trying to help Somalis overcome their differences and we will do all we can," Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said.

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/ 26 March 2008

Somalia too dangerous for aid work, say agencies

Top international aid agencies warned on Wednesday that war-scarred Somalia has become too dangerous for its workers to help more than one million civilians living rough, as fresh fighting erupted. Four Somali soldiers and two civilians were killed when Islamist fighters raided the town of Jowhar, near Mogadishu, officials said.

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/ 26 March 2008

Six killed as Somali Islamists raid key town

Four Somali soldiers and two civilians were killed on Wednesday when Islamist fighters raided a key southern town, sparking clashes, officials and a local resident said. The Islamists briefly took control of Jowhar township, 90km north of the capital Mogadishu, looted government vehicles and offices and released prisoners.

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/ 17 March 2008

Somalis killed in land clashes

At least nine people were killed and 18 wounded in central Somalia when two clans fought on Monday over land, hospital and local officials said. The fighting erupted between the Sa’ad and Dir sub-clans over disputed land in Galkaio town in central Somalia, said Bile Mohamud Qabowsade, a government official.

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/ 25 January 2008

Islamist rebels conduct raid on Somali airfield

Islamist insurgents briefly seized control of Somalia’s biggest military airfield on Friday and looted weapons, witnesses and an Islamist commander said. Muktar Ali Robow, leader of the al-Shabab rebel militia, told a local radio station his forces also captured government troops during the raid on Baledogle, about 100km west of the capital, Mogadishu.

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/ 26 December 2007

Somali police chief survives attack

Gunmen threw grenades at the home of the regional police chief in south-western Somalia, killing two of his grandchildren and a bodyguard while he escaped injury, authorities said on Tuesday. Seven other family members were wounded in the Monday-night attack, which police said was a failed assassination attempt.

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/ 23 December 2007

Aid workers face uphill battle in Somalia

The handful of grain Abiye Omar clutches in her skinny hand has travelled a long way from the fertile fields of America’s Midwest to the desolate Somali seaside town of Merka. It has sailed on a relief ship through seas plagued by pirates and sharks, then been carried ashore by porters into the hands of aid workers who have to contend with bandits, arsonists and insurgents.

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/ 16 December 2007

Somali insurgency to intensify

The military wing of Somalia’s Islamist movement plans to intensify its offensive against government troops and their Ethiopian allies, a senior commander said on Sunday. Muktar Ali Robow said al-Shabab had killed nearly 500 Ethiopian soldiers and would fight until foreign troops left the Horn of Africa country.

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/ 7 December 2007

Somali president dismisses rumours of ill health

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf said on Friday he was in good health after recovering from a bout of pneumonia, and laughed off a flurry of reports he was near death. ”I’m fine, I am OK,” Yusuf said in an exclusive interview from his hospital bed in Nairobi. ”I had pneumonia, but the doctors have taken it out [treated it] and I am well now,” he said.

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/ 4 December 2007

Somali president flown to hospital amid walkout

Turmoil struck the Somali government on Tuesday as a fifth minister resigned in a power-sharing dispute a day after being appointed, and the president was urgently flown to a hospital in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. A security official described President Abdullahi Yusuf (72) as being in a ”serious condition” when he arrived in Nairobi on Tuesday.