From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sun Jan 04 2009 - 13:49:21 EST
UIC seizes police stations in Mogadishu
Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:33:32 GMT
The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) militants
The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) forces have taken control of police
stations in Mogadishu as Ethiopia began withdrawing troops from Somalia.
A spokesman for the Somali group, Abdirahim Issa Adow, said Sunday that the
UIC was deploying troops to three police stations across restive Mogadishu
to make sure the capital would not plunge into tumult.
"We started deploying our forces in Mogadishu police stations to protect the
civilians," Abdirahim added.
Ethiopian troops - who have been assisting the feeble Somalia's Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) forces for two years - had pledged to pull out its
forces from the conflict-plagued Horn of Africa nation by the end of 2008.
Officials have declined to announce an exact departure date amidst fears
that the exit would allow oppositions to take even more control of the
Somalia has been in turmoil since 1991 when warlords toppled the former
dictator president Mohammed Siad Barre. Ever since, the Horn of Africa
country has been covered with violence and insurgency.
Uganda mulls exiting Somalia
Sat, 03 Jan 2009 22:18:48 GMT
Uganda has warned that it may withdraw its troops from peacekeeping duties
in Somalia, as insurgents appeared to begin seizing territory.
"Uganda is going to consider withdrawing its troops from Somalia and it will
do so as soon as possible after weighing the risks on the ground," Deputy
Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem said on Saturday.
Uganda has demanded a UN peacekeeping force of 8,000 troops, but UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has rejected the calls, saying there is "no
peace to keep."
Somalia has been embroiled in chaos ever since the 1991 ouster of dictator
Mohamed Siad Barre.
The crisis deepened after the Ethiopian invasion sparked a bloody insurgency
that has killed over 10,000 civilians and displaced around 1 million.
Somali fighters fill Ethiopia vacuum
Sat, 03 Jan 2009 19:14:23 GMT
Fighters belonging to the UIC have expanded their turf in the capital,
Fighters from different opposition factions in Somalia have begun expanding
their territories as Ethiopia quits the violence-hit country.
On Saturday, Gunmen affiliated with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) as
well as others with alleged links to the Alliance for the Re-liberation of
Somalia (ARS) started armed operations in different parts of the Somali
capital, a Press TV correspondent reported.
The UIC gunmen seized the Mogadishu bases recently vacated by the Ethiopian
soldiers. The soldiers had intervened in 2006 to support the country's
trouble-ridden caretaker government.
The Ethiopian entry was hoped to cure the perennial instability in the
country which has done without a functioning government since 1991.
The UIC, in the saddle at the time, were ousted by the Ethiopians. They,
however, have managed to seize control of most of Somalia struggling ever
since to push the Ethiopians back.
Mostly as a result of their opposition, the government's span of control has
also been restricted to some parts of Mogadishu and Baidoa, the seat of the
"Our mission is not to fight anyone or begin a new round of fighting but to
restore peace as we did in 6 months of 2006," the spokesman for the
oppositionists, Abdi Rahim Isse Addow was reported as saying.
"Our troops are right now in control of three strategic military bases
vacated by Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu," he added.
Amid the escalation of attacks on the Ethiopians and the growth of the
soldiers' unpopularity among the Somali public, the country's leadership and
the ARS strongmen voted for their withdrawal during Djibouti peace talks.
Other armed men, believed to be associated with the ARS, also reportedly
took control of 9 outposts in Hodon and Howlwadaag districts south of the
Joint Somali security forces are supposed to fill the power vacuum.
Ethiopians, though, recently disarmed and demobilized many government
soldiers fearing they would join the resistant groups.
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