The violence in Somalia continues despite the curfew invoked by the government, effective this past Friday, after weeks of bloodshed. Anyone outside his or her home between 7 pm and 5 am will be arrested. Somalia’s intelligence chief Mohamed Warsame Darwish says the curfew is a necessary means to tackle the violence in the evening and secure the city.
The curfew comes after a bombing in the main Bakara market in Mogadishu on Thursday. At least five people were killed, four police officers and one civilian, when a masked man threw a grenade at several policemen patrolling the crowded marketplace in the capital of Somalia.
Somali policemen continue to be the targets of violence. Early last week two people were killed when insurgents attacked two police stations.
The government and its allied Ethiopian troops have been battling insurgents for nearly six months. The government has accused the Islamists and Mogadishu’s dominant Hawiye clan for Thursday’s bombing.
A national reconciliation conference is scheduled for next month and both the Hawiya clan and Islamists have been invited to create a peaceful resolution. However, neither group has elected to attend or discuss peace until Ethiopian troops are removed from the country.
The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) controlled the government for six months last year until Ethiopian and government troops ousted the Islamic group.
In the meantime, as malnutrition increases in Somalia, about 140 UN trucks carrying food aid to Somalia were forced to remain in the Kenyan border for more than a month. Kenya closed its border to Somalia in January after hundreds of thousands migrated to the neighboring country following the increased violence. The Kenyan land route was chosen after pirate attacks threatened the safety of seamen and cargo.
Today, with the arrival of food and aid, at least three people were killed when hundreds of people stormed a police station where food was being handed out. One witness, whose brother was among the victims, reports that the police opened fire and killed five people. Another witness describes the killing as cold-blooded murder.
For more information please see:
BBC – Shooting at Somali Food Aid Crush – 25 June 2007
BBC – Somalia Food Aid Trucks Stranded – 22 June 2007
BBC – Curfew After Somali Grenade Blast – 21 June 2007
Yahoo – Somalia Violence Kills 6; Curfew Imposed – 21 June 2007