The US and Ethiopia appear to be grooming the northern autonomous regions of Somalia—Puntland and Somaliland—as proxies to fight the Islamic Courts Union that controls the traditional capital, Mogadishu. So: should we be supporting this as a defense of freedom against Islamist totalitarianism, or opposing it as destructive imperialist meddling? Sound off, readers. From the independent Shabelle Media Network, Mogadishu, Dec. 7, via AllAfrica:
Somalia: Islamist Fighters And Ethiopian Backed Militias Clash in Bandiradley
Fighting between the Islamic Courts fighters in Bandiradley and Abdi Qeybdid’s militias backed by Ethiopian and the autonomous regional government of Puntland troops has occurred in Sadeh Higle, a settlement that lies between Bandiradley and Galkayo where both troops exchanged motor shells and small fire.
Shabcan Abdi Anshur, an Islamist officer in the area, has told Shabelle Radio by telephone that heavy weapons were used in the skirmishes that lasted hours. He claimed they killed number of Qeybdid’s militias.
Casualties of both sides cannot be verified.
Islamist fighters and Ethiopian backed militias loyal to warlord Abdi Qeybdid, who was evicted from the capital on July 11 after deadly battles in which more than hundred fifty people, most of them civilian population, died, are facing off near Bandiradley, about 60 km away from Galkayo which is under the administration of Puntland.
The news comes as Islamic Courts fighters in Hiran province, central Somalia were put on a high alert after they felt an Ethiopian military movement along the border with Ethiopia. Islamic Courts in the region have opened an office that would register young people who voluntarily want to take part in a Jihad or holy war against foreign troops in the country.
Around 100 young people were registered as UN Security council resolution that alleviated the arms embargo on Somalia allows regional peacekeeping forces to be deployed in the country.
Islamic Courts vehemently rebuffed foreign troop’s deployment in Somalia, vowing they will fight and defeat the African peacekeeping forces, known as IGASOM that would enter Somalia to train and protect the fragile transitional government based in Baidoa.
The UN Security Council voted earlier this week to approve creation of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Somalia (IGASOM), and also to lift the arms embargo on Somalia—a move clearly aimed at backing up the “official” transition government in Baidoa. Officially, countries that border Somalia will be barred from sending troops under IGASOM. (IRIN, Dec. 7)
See our last post on the Horn of Africa.