Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
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These Flying Rockets are Visitors of Death

Abdi-Noor Haji Mohamed Writer and film-Maker Mogadishu, Somalia

Following a proposal passed to the UN on December, the Security Council has eased the arms embargo imposed upon Somalia in January 1992. But the softening of the arms embargo has facilitated the neighboring Ethiopia to attack and subsequently rout the Islamic courts union with the aim of averting what the Ethiopians called “A growing Islamic threat in the Horn of Africa”.


The UIC has provoked the Ethiopians when they vowed that they would over run Ethiopia if they didn’t get out of Somali soil within a period of seven days. The TGF, which was those days based in Baidoa, was at the verge of collapse as the UIC militia was edging closer to

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their bases by the day. But whatever happened and whichever way they had happened, a joint Ethiopian and TFG forces routed the Islamic courts all the way from the Ethiopian-Somali border areas to the Southern tip of Raskiamboni near the border between Somalia and Kenya.


What happened next?


Invisible armed groups made themselves visible by attacking government and Ethiopian barracks and melting away in the civilian populations. In response to this provocation tanks start coughing fire aiming to repulse or eliminate the culprits but unfortunately hit unarmed and defenseless populations in the city.   


It is believed that the government lacks the capacity to supply adequate safety to its citizens as it has only1000 police force that cannot effectively cover a city of two and half inhabitants. It is sad that the TFG is asking its people to capture those culprits who are attacking their barracks with mortar rounds and RPG rockets. Worse still if these boys attack government bases with an AK rifle, a stern response comes from the government and Ethiopians using a disproportionate force.


Time and again strayed rockets land on residential areas in Mogadishu causing a whole family to perish while leaving many others wounded.  Over the past two weeks we have had the worst security environment in Mogadishu for many years as attacks and counter attacks were consistently taking place in the city almost every night and sometimes in broad daylight.


On 20 February, almost every location in Mogadishu received a spray of mortar attacks making the city ablaze with rocket fires. In addition to this there is widespread hunger, disease such as cholera, which is already claiming a high toll in rierine areas. There is destitution and displacement, which need immediate attention but largely eclipsed by these mortar attacks.

"This is what the militia want" said a Mogadishu businessman " They want to undermine the government and make Mogadishu a hell for everybody including the TFG and their Ethiopian friends."


" It is apparently clear that the TFG and the Ethiopians can easily quell the militia considering the number and type of firepower they have but the seemingly irrepressible and somewhat notorious gunmen change tactics from time to time" says Ali Jama a Mogadishu livestock trader who was let loose in the city after the Somali livestock has been banned by the Gulf states as a result of the outbreak of the Rift Valley fever in neighboring countries.


“If the government demands unarmed civilians to capture armed militia who target their bases, how can we survive in this city which had been shifting hands from one group to another over the past 16 years” said another resident, adding “How can we protect our life from a shoot back from the TFG and Ethiopian soldiers who open fire indiscriminately in all areas they suspect to be a hide-out of the militia”.:


“Both groups are wreaking tremendous havoc on us” said another man who moved from his area when the Ethiopians occupied the Digfer General Hospital of Mogadishu few days ago. The Ethiopian and Government forces moved into several positions within the city in an effort to quash the hit and run episodes carried against them by unknown militia.


 The systematic take over of some strategic areas of the city is suspected to be a prelude to a wider scale engagement between them and the militia who are armed with a weaponry far more inferior to what the other the party possess. It seems that there is no safe place in the city as rockets just come and hit anywhere, anytime and anybody’s house. These rockets are visitors of death perforating in the dark, misty air of a city dead with shock and fear. Some families are stumbling with the burden of extended families that were displaced from other locations of Mogadishu with little or virtually no food or money with them..


And in the background of the story we have cholera outbreak in the riverine regions of Somalia, which is already claiming hundreds of people. Somalia is engulfed by a myriad of devastating problems with far reaching negative implications on its existence as a healthy state.   Please share this poem with me:



That bright shining ball

Swimming in the night

As red as a fire ember

Heading to nowhere

Looking for somewhere

Is a rocket of war

Loaded by one

Launched by another

Missing the culprit

But landing on a shack

Inside which

A displaced family sleeps

Dreaming of love and peace

Descending upon them fiercely

Offering them no chance to survive

But to die in the midst of horror

And to rise in the grave of eternity

OH Lord

May peace ever touch this nation?

May sanity ever return to Somalia?

Abdi-Noor Mohamed
, Somalia

[email protected]

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