Mogadishu (Sunatimes) As Kenya's lightning invasion ofSomaliacontinues
to proceed at a rather leisurely pace, militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has
found itself with plenty of time to turn to other pursuits, such as being blown
up by local residents, killing each other over taxes, battling with pirates
over naked housemaids, beating women for wearing inappropriate hijabs, and
tossing hand grenades willy nilly aroundMogadishu.
Tuesday saw at least six people killed in Mogadishu as the
insurgentscarried out four separate grenade
attackson soldiers and government officials. This showsthat
the city is still far from safe, although AMISOM attempted to portray people
taking toLido beachduring Eid Al-Adha as asign that Mogadishu is returning to
lifedue to the relative absence of al-Shabaab.
Suspected al-Shabaab sympathizers also failed to take Kenya's
inactivity into account, killing two people ingrenade attacks in the Kenyan town of
The catalogue of carnage continued up in Bay Region, where three
al-Shabaab fighters werekilled in a fight over taxes,proving
the TFG doesn't have a monopoly on such incidents despite lots of recent
evidence to the contrary. Another eight al-Shabaab fighterswere killed in Galgududby
a landmine, with pro-government militia Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamaa keen to portray
it as an attack carried out by civilians that signals a popular uprising
against the insurgents.Other reports say that it may have been
There were real signs of ordinary Somalis looking to oppose
al-Shabaab, however, with elders from Lower and Middle Shabelle announcing anawareness campaignaimed
at steering youth away from joining the insurgents.
Al-Shabaab also came off worse in a clash with pirates in
Haradhere, supposedly sparked when the hard line militantsattempted to arrest the maid of
a local pirate leaderbecause she was prancing around naked in
front of her boss.The maid got off lightly compared to six women who were
beaten in Hiran for wearing hijabs that were adjudgednot to be heavy enough.
While al-Shabaab members appeared to be busy killing each other,
the TFG - as is often the case - appeared to not want to be outdone in killing
each other and civilians.A lawmaker wasshot dead in Mogadishu, and
while blame initially fell on the insurgents, it appeared he was actually shot
by TFG soldiers when his driver refused to stop at a checkpoint. Also,TFG
soldiers early this week received their "last warning" over
killing civilians,which they promptly ignored byshooting dead at least five peoplewho
were among a crowd clamoring for humanitarian aid.Presumably the last
warning will now become a second-last warning, as have many of the previous
The calls for discipline are hardly going to be helped when you
consider soldiers are complaining they havenot been paid for four months.It
is the old story that was supposedly fixed this year, when ousted PM Farmajo
made sure the troops were paid. Analysts are again repeating their warnings
that unpaid soldiers are likely to help themselves to aid and civilians'
Elsewhere, Ethiopia's shadow loomed large over Somalia again. Ahlu
Sunnah wal Jamaa, essentially Ethiopia's proxy army in Somalia,arrested 30 members of the Ogaden
National Liberation Front, which is fighting for the independence of
Ethiopia's Ogaden region, and handed them over to the regional power.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia's "New Police" came into Somaliland in an attempt
to arrest a local religious leader, and insteadcame away with a bloody nosewhen
they faced resistance from locals.
And since we're talking about Ahlu Sunnah, one of their officials
issued a rather bizarre threat against the ICRC,accusing the international NGO of
backing al-Shabaab.He clearly didn't understand ICRC's policy
of neutrality in any conflict, which means it will treat wounded of any stripe.
There wasn't too much action on the high seas this week, so we took the
opportunity to do our sums and build a full list of the ships that have been
released by pirates (not counting those set free by navy action) this year. The
estimated ransom payments (likely inflated by the pirates in the interests of
driving up the average payment), came to $128.5 million for the release of 27
vessels and 25 hostages released independently of their ships.The full
list can be seen in ourweekly piracy report.
If your eyes are stinging after reading through all of this, or you can't face
the waffle of our piracy report, here is a brief rundown of the week's other
The Iranian navythwarted an attackon
an Iranian tanker;
The crew of a fishing vesselchucked their captors overboard,
killing six of them;
Pirates aredemanding a ludicrous ransomfor
the release of the Danish and US aid workers snatched recently;
And, last but not least, our publisher, Robert YoungPelton,
takes the case of the MVBlidaand extrapolates someinteresting conclusions about
the future of piracy.
That wraps up a rather disjointed week of news from Somalia,
although Kenya's "breather" should come to an end soon and ensure
more mayhem than you can shake a stick at.
That's it from us this week. Have a great weekend, and we'll catch you next