Hundreds of Ethiopian troops trying to protect Somalia’s fragile government
went house-to-house searching for weapons on Wednesday, a daunting task
in a city teeming with firearms.
people were arrested and accused of being linked to an insurgency blamed
for a string of deadly suicide bombs and other attacks. The
insurgents vow to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war unless the country
becomes an Islamic state.
are part of the routine security tasks carried out with the help of our
friends, the Ethiopians," Deputy Defence Minister Salad Ali Jelle
The troops also arrested
Abdi Iman, a leading member of Mogadishu’s dominant Hawiye clan, a spokesperson
for the clan said.
There was no word
on why Iman was arrested, said the spokesperson, Ahmed Diriye.
Ethiopia, the region’s
military powerhouse, was vital in helping the Somali government drive
out Islamic radicals who ruled much of the country for six months last
But many in predominantly
Muslim Somalia resent having troops from Ethiopia, which has a large Christian
population. The countries fought two brutal wars, the last in 1977.
Residents of Mogadishu
said the operation had been going on since Tuesday, causing tension and
"I am not a member
of the insurgents, I am an independent businessman who runs a shop, but
I am afraid of being arrested because I look Islamic, with my long beard
and the way I dress," said Sheik Abdulqadir.
Shamsa Mohamed Ilmi, said her 16-year-old son was shot and killed by Ethiopian
troops last week.
are very suspicious, they shot him as he was trying to take his mobile
phone from his pocket," she said.
The Ethiopian troops
come under regular insurgent attacks.
This week, Ethiopian
troops fired at a would-be suicide bomber speeding toward their base,
blowing up the car and killing the bomber and a civilian standing nearby.
into chaos in 1991 when warlords ousted long-time dictator Mohamed Siad
Barre and then turned on one another. The government was formed in 2004
with the help of the United Nations, but it has struggled to assert any
real control throughout the country. — Sapa-AP