January 07, 2007

Anti-Ethiopia protest leads to violence and death in Somalia

Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007

by admin

Hundreds of furious Somalis stormed and crowded the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on Saturday smashing car windows and throwing rocks at Ethiopian troops allied with the government while chanting anti-government slogans calling for the disarming of Mogadishu. Already at least two people were killed and 17 injured in the violence surrounding the anti-Ethiopian protest in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

"We are protesting against the disarmament and the Ethiopian presence in the country. We cannot accept disarmament under occupation," Haeyle Abdulle Hussein, 23, reports state. "We will wage a holy war instead."

According to witnesses, Ethiopian troops first fired in the air to scatter the crowd. When that did not work, witnesses said, the soldiers aimed into the crowd and several people were hurt. Hospital officials said one teenage boy was killed.

Muslim Somalia is stated to resent having troops from neighbouring Ehtiopia which has a large population of Christians. The countries have fought two brutal wars, the last in 1977.

Due to the violence many businesses including public transportation stopped running in Mogadishu all day long. Women in veils and Somali dresses shook Korans in their hands reportedly shouting "Down with Ethiopia! and The infidels must die!" while marching through the streets.

The government announced earlier in the day that it was postponing plans to forcibly disarm the city — an operation that had been set to begin Friday, but didn’t.

Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has decided to postpone disarming people by force until an unspecified time.

Government officials announced over the radio that the riots had been unnecessary because the disarmament policy had already been changed.

"We have postponed the disarmament until an unspecified time," said Salad Ali Jelle, deputy defense minister. "We are now talking with clan elders about how to proceed."

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