10/07/08 (B455) Shabelle network avec AFP / L’Union africaine demande des sanctions contre ceux qui agissent contre la paix en Somalie – Les forces islamistes sont visées par cet appel. African Union demands sanctions against Somalia peace spoilers (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

The African Union (AU) demanded UN sanctions against all Somali parties hampering last month’s truce agreement and whose implementation was due to begin Wednesday.

The pan-African body’s main executive body, the AU commission, « reiterates the need for the UN Security Council to take measures against those who are jeopardising the ongoing political process in Somalia and regional stability, » said a statement received in French by AFP.

« In short, this means that the AU is urging the UN to impose targeted sanctions against individuals or powers hampering the peace process in Somalia, » a senior AU official told AFP.

The Horn of Africa country has been in the throes of a brutal civil war since the 1991 ouster of former president Mohamed Siad Barre.

Ethiopian troops invaded in late 2006 to rescue an embattled interim government and soon ousted an Islamist group which had briefly controlled large parts of the country.

The ensuing guerilla war pitting Islamist insurgents against government troops and allied Ethiopian and African Union peacekeeping forces has plunged Somalia into further chaos.

According to international rights groups and aid organisations, at least 6,000 civilians have been killed in the violence over the past year alone and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The violence has defied more than a dozen peace initiatives over the past 17 years, but in the latest attempt to quell the bloodshed, a UN-brokered truce deal was reached on June 9 in Djibouti.

The agreement was initiated by the Somali transitional government and several top leaders from the main Islamist-dominated opposition alliance.

However other leading Islamist officials and military commanders have rejected the agreement, insisting that Ethiopian troops should unilaterally pull out of Somalia before peace talks can start.

The Djibouti deal gave signatories a month to start implementing a cessation of hostilities but holdout factions have continued to target the government and Ethiopian forces in recent days.

Rival Islamist leaders have been meeting in the Yemeni capital Sanaa since Monday in a bid to unify opposition ranks and broaden support for the latest peace efforts.

08/07/08 (B455) Shabelle Network / Des centaines de citadins fuient les villes du centre de la Somalie, au fur et à mesure de l’avance des islamistes. Hundreds flee central Somali town as Islamists advance on (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Hundreds of families fled their homes in the central Somali town of Beledweyne the provincial capital of Hiran region fearing from sudden fight might erupt near the town following the Islamic courts union fighters have moved on towards Ethiopian troop’s army bases near the town.

More than 800 people, carrying what they could, streamed out of the town of Beledweyne , 300 km north of Mogadishu Sunday morning where additional Islamic fighters were preparing for a fight against the Ethiopian troops based at the northern outskirt of the town.

The Islamic fighters took over the central Somali region of Hiran following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops who had been protecting the local administration in Beledweyn.

The fighters set up an army post in the town entering inside the town.

On Saturday the UIC fighters have attacked traveling Ethiopian troops, who responded with heavy artillery shelling near the town, forcing most of the families living there to flee their homes as two armed vehicles of the Ethiopian troops burned in the attack.

Ethiopian troops crossed over to Somalia in late 2006 to assist Somali government forces topple an Islamist administration in south and central Somalia. Ethiopian stated then that it saw the group as a threat to its national security.

The fighters of the deposed Islamist movement had been waging nearly daily attacks on Somali government forces and officials and the Ethiopian troops backing them since February 2007.

Thousands have been killed, wounded or displaced from their homes by the on-going conflict.

The attacks on Somali and Ethiopian troops by Islamic fighters’ continued unabated despite the signing of a peace deal between a faction of the opposition coalition, the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia, and transitional Somali government culminating UN sponsored peace talks in Djibouti early last month.

Another faction of the alliance based in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, and the Al-shabaab Islamist group have boycotted the talks held in Djibouti last month.

They vowed to continue their attacks on Ethiopian and Somali government forces and officials until Ethiopian troops withdraw from Somalia.

Somalia has been without a central authority since the ouster of former Somali ruler Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991.

08/07/08 (B455) Shabelle Network / Pas de trêve avant le départ des Ethiopiens de Somalie. La coalition islamiste dominante a annoncé dimanche dernier qu’elle ne cesserait les combats qu’après le départ des Ethiopiens / No truce until Ethiopians withdraw-opposition official. (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Somalia’s Islamist-dominated opposition alliance said Sunday that they will not break in fighting until the Ethiopian troops pull out from Somalia.

« The alliance is undertaking every effort to get rid of Ethiopians, » the interior secretary of Somalia’s Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) opposition group Omar Hashi Aden told Shabelle « We plan to spread the resistance in entire Somalia, and we have already sent people to every corner of Somalia”

He added that there is no way that can enable the Ethiopian troops to pull out except “fighting”

“Somalis can concur on each other if the “Abysinians” meddling sets out” he said as he was speaking from central Somalia location.

Mr Hashi’s Remarks comes as bitter battles between Ethiopian troops and armed islamist fighters have been consecutively erupting in central Somalia regions.

Ethiopian troops helped Somalia’s embattled transitional government forces last year and ousted the Islamic Courts Union, which briefly took control of large parts of the country.

Since being defeated by Ethiopia’s vastly superior military machine, the Islamists have reverted to guerrilla tactics, launching daily hit-and-run attacks on government targets in Mogadishu.

The new organisation’s 191-member central committee was to continue to meet in Asmara, discussing strategy, a charter and appointment of leaders.

Some 1,600 Ugandan troops are currently deployed in Mogadishu as part of an African Union peacekeeping force that was initially supposed to number 8,000 soldiers but has been slow to materialise.

It has struggled to restore order in the capital Mogadishu.

04/06/08 (B450-B) Shabelle Network – Djibouti : la représentation islamiste exclue d’avoir des entretiens avec le TFG, tant que les troupes éthiopiennes n’auront pas quitté la Somalie. / Islamist Group Rules Out Talks with TFG without Ethiopian Troops withthrawal (En Anglais)

The Somali transitional government has decided to halt its security operations against Islamist insurgents in a bid to boost reconciliation talks currently under way in Djibouti, a minister said Monday. "We have decided to stop all operations in Somalia to avoid civilian casualties," said Ahmed Abdisalan Adan, who is Somalia’s deputy prime minister and minister of youth, sports and information. "First we want to reconcile and find a political solution. After, we’ll handle the security. We want the Somali people to feel that peace is coming," he added.

He was speaking during a visit by a UN Security Council delegation to Djibouti, where UN-sponsored talks between Somalia’s main political rivals resumed on May 31. The talks come against a backdrop of near daily clashes between Ethiopian-backed troops from the Somali transitional federal government (TFG) and Islamist insurgents. Adan did not specify whether the Ethiopian military deployed in Somalia would take the same approach and curb its operations against Islamist militia. The main protagonists in the Djibouti talks are officials from the TFG and from the Asmara-based Islamist-dominated opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

Although both sides have officially only engaged in indirect talks so far, Adan said they had been meeting informally on the sidelines. "During the last two days, we met informally. We are no strangers to each other. We do believe they have come here for peace," he said. "Even if we have different backgrounds, we have acknowledged that our ultimate goal is to get peace in Somalia ," he added. Some influential Islamist leaders have continued to insist that an Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia’s territory should be a precondition to negotiations with the government.

Somali Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Jama Jengali welcomed the visit by the ambassadors to the 15-nation UN Security Council. "This visit comes at a good schedule. We have briefed them on the situation in Somalia . They have expressed their concerns for Somalis and wished that we reconcile and focus on the future of the people and the country," he said. "Our delegation came here with an open mind to reach reconciliation. Now we have a good opportunity to move the process forward," he added.