From AP, Nov. 20:
MOGADISHU — Islamic fighters ambushed an Ethiopian military convoy on Sunday, killing six Ethiopian soldiers and wounding 20 others, witnesses said, in the first known fight between the rival forces maneuvering for control in Somalia.
Two Ethiopian trucks were destroyed by land mines before Islamic fighters opened fire on the convoy, which witnesses said was made up of more than 80 vehicles and headed for Baidoa, the headquarters of the so-called transitional government. The attack occurred about 50 miles southwest of Baidoa.
Sheik Abdirahim Ali Mudey, a spokesman for the Islamic Courts Union, which controls the capital, Mogadishu, and much of southern Somalia, said four Ethiopian trucks were destroyed and some soldiers were killed, but he denied that his group was responsible. He described the fighting as “a popular uprising” by villagers opposed to Ethiopian troops in Somalia.
Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991, when warlords overthrew Mohamed Siad Barre, then turned on one another. The interim government, formed two years ago, controls just one town.
And just in case there was any doubt as to who’s side Eritrea is on, here’s a little something from Shabait, the Eritrean state newspaper, via AllAfrica, Nov. 18:
Ten countries including Eritrea as well as the Hezbollah party of Lebanon are being accused of “breaching the arms embargo and sending armaments to Somalia”, according to the accusations released this week by the UN. Nowadays, when the UN organization has been changed into an appendage or extension of the US State Department and being micro administrated by the CIA , it is not hard to imagine from where these views and accusations are being sent. Instead of resolving conflicts prolonging and complicating conflicts has become the main concern of the US Administration so as to implement its sinister agenda. And sadly enough this has become its harbinger to all its failures.
Looking at it from this true perspective, the US Administration, which for the last 15 years has never uttered a word, while the people of Somalia were decimating each other, and has instead been continuously channeling weapons and money to the Somali warlords to inflame the conflict, is now presenting accusations through its mouthpiece, the UN organization. And no one can miss to what end this accusations are being tuned.
Eritrea’s stand on the issue of Somalia is clear and firm. It emanates from the historical ties and friendship, which the Somali people extended to the just struggle of the Eritrean people for liberation. Hence, Eritrea remains keen to extend political encouragement to the just cause of the Somali people to create a ground for national reconciliation, dialogue and enable Somalis to live in peace and harmony. There is no other agenda whatsoever beyond that. National reconciliation of Somalis as well as promoting stability in Somalia has a substantial role to play to regional peace and mutual benefit.
The unholy agendas and interventions by regional and international forces in Somalia over the last 15 years have brought about much destruction. In this regard, the people and Government of Eritrea do strongly object the unjustified intervention pursued by the US as well as its mercenaries and other external forces, because its inevitable lasting scar on the Horn is very dangerous. Eritrea ‘s role and clear position regarding the issue of Somalia is to leave the matter to the Somalis themselves. Hence, external forces have to retract their hands from meddling in the internal affairs of Somalia, with regards to the constructive and fervent political process that is gaining momentum in the country. And if they really are genuinely interested in extending assistance, they should create a reconciliatory ground, without intervention and without taking sides with anyone.