Food riots, anti-US protests rock Somalia

Hundreds of youths hurled stones and blocked roads with burning tires May 6 in a second day of protests over food prices in Mogadishu, where the price of corn meal has more than doubled since January and rice has risen from $26 to $47.50 for a 110-pound sack. The protests were sparked by shopkeepers’ refusal to accept some bank notes, apparently over fears of counterfeiters. On May 5, tens of thousands took to the streets and five people were killed by government troops and armed shopkeepers. (SomaliNet, AP, May 6) More than a thousand people demonstrated in Dusamareb, central Somalia, May 4 against the US air-strike that killed an alleged al-Qaeda militant and at least 11 others. (VOA, May 4)

Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the role of the US in Somalia following publication of a report accusing its Ethiopian allies of committing war crimes. The report, “Routinely Targeted: Attacks on Civilians in Somalia,” says Ethiopian troops in Somalia are killing civilians, slitting the throats of insurgent suspects and gang-raping women. Amnesty called on the international community to intervene to halt the bloodshed. Ethiopia’s government said the report was unbalanced and “categorically wrong.” (SomaliNet, ReliefWeb, May 6)

See our last posts on Somalia and the food crisis.