View Full Version : African Union troops intervene after Somali jihadists threaten aid camps

07-29-2011, 11:40 AM
African Union troops intervene after Somali jihadists threaten aid camps


Al-Shabaab's conduct is reminiscent of the Saudi religious police who beat schoolgirls back into a burning building (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1874471.stm) rather than letting them out sinfully unveiled. But the Somali jihadists are causing suffering and death on a much larger scale, in what they say is an effort to keep out the "Christian" influence of Western-based charities. Indeed, that is par for the course for a group paranoid enough to ban allegedly Trinitarian (http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/07/somalia-islamic-supremacists-ban-samosas-for-resembling-christian-trinity.html) samosas. Still, there is also a military advantage to pursue in controlling the flow of aid, and holding the entire territory under their control hostage: hungry people have a harder time fighting back.

For that matter, al-Shabaab has not retreated from their insistence (http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/07/un-urges-massive-action-on-famine-somali-jihadists-say-doesnt-exist.html) that there is no famine in the first place. And now, they have not only threatened, but "sworn" to attack those who fled to aid camps -- after many barely survived getting to them -- if they didn't turn around and go home. "Somali famine: Fighting in Mogadishu after 'aid threat'," from BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14323426), July 28:
Africa Union peacekeepers say they have seized key territory from Islamist insurgents in Somalia's capital after they allegedly threatened aid camps.
The heavy fighting came a day after the UN World Food Programme airlifted in its first famine emergency aid.
An AU spokesman told the BBC the action would increase security and enable aid agencies to get food to people displaced by the severe drought.
Thousands have arrived in government-controlled suburbs in search of food.
The WFP delivery is the first airlift of food aid since the UN declared a famine in two southern areas of Somalia last week.
Al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda linked group which controls much of central and southern Somalia, has banned the WFP from its areas.
Tens of thousands of Somalis have fled these regions to Mogadishu and neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia in search of assistance.
The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that some 100,000 people had arrived in Mogadishu and settlements around the city in search of food and water in the past two months.
Dawn fighting
The weak interim government - backed by the 9,000-strong AU force (Amisom) - controls about 60% of the capital, Mogadishu, including the airport, the port, the presidential palace and areas around the city's largest market.
The BBC's Mohamed Dhore in Mogadishu says the fighting started just after dawn when government forces and African peacekeeping troops launched an offensive on an al-Shabab strongholds in the north of the city.
"The al-Shabab have sworn to attack the IDP [internally displaced people] camps if they don't move back to their areas - and therefore this operation was mean to ensure that this does not happen," Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for the AU force in Mogadishu, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme....