Despite the supposed ceasefire, fighting again broke out between Somali insurgents and Ethiopian occupation troops in several attacks around Mogadishu June 18, leaving 11 dead. Nine were civilians; two were Somali police. (Africa News, June 19) Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, about to leave for the signing of the peace deal in Jedda, blasted Arab governments in statements to AlJazeera—singling out the network’s home, Qatar: “I want to tell the government of Qatar that the day will come when the Arab people hold accountable all those who helped destabilize Somalia…. The Qatari Government can rectify its policies towards us, and [t]his includes the hostile rhetoric used in its media outlets, starting with Al-Jazeera.” (Translated from Arabic broadcast by Shabelle Media Network, June 19)
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, leader of the Council of Islamic Courts, spoke during his own news conference in Mogadishu, saying his Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia signed the UN-mediated peace agreement because it provides a 120-day timetable for an Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia.
Hardliners in Ahmed’s opposition group, led by Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys in Asmara, Eritrea, boycotted the talks in Djibouti, saying the accord legitimizes the Ethiopian occupation in Somalia. Ahmed says he is in talks with opponents in Asmara to bring them into the cease-fire. But he chided the international community for lack of support. Six months after the mission was launched, only a fraction of the 26,000 peacekeepers promised have been deployed and much-needed equipment and supplies have not yet arrived. (VOA, June 19)
Interesting that just as the peace deal was concluded in Djibouti last week, fighting broke out between that country and neighboring Eritrea.
See our last post on the Horn of Africa.