Sep 26, 2006

The UIC Captures Kismayo, then What?

Many people thought the UIC will be different from existing tribal factions in Somalia since Islam is the one thing that can unite Somalis. However, the UIC which is mainly of Hawiye tribe was suspected by many Somalis to be just another tribal faction. However, no can denying the positive change in Mogadishu of stablity and peace the UIC have managed. Recently in an interview with the BBC Somali the leader of UIC endorsed a warlord nick named Indo Adde and insisted his areas were peaceful when it wasn’t, so others interpreted this move as simply clan allegiance. But their recent capture of Kismayo shattered any doubts that they’re just another tribal faction with an Islamic theme.

Kismayo is one of the most fought over cities in
Somalia because of its port and strategic position. In the height of the civil ward in early 1990S, Darod clan was based in Kismayo while Hawiye controlled Mogadishu. Since then allegiances changed and finally few years ago it fell to a coalition of Marehan (Darod) and Habar Gidir (Hawiye) militias. Then more recently the Marehan warlord (Barre Hiraale) took control over the city who opposed the UIC and supported the government (later appointed Defense Minister!). Though the UIC commander who captured Kismayo now is of the Ogaden tribe (Darod) it's seen it’s seen by those who lost the city as Hawiye taking over the city.

There're strong indications that the capture of Kismayo will be followed by more fighting in the next few days/weeks. The warlord who controlled the city was an ally to the Transitional Government, he withdrew his troops without fighting which means he is planning an assault on the city soon. The Transitional Government is afraid their base Baidao is next on the UIC’s list. Just today the Prime Minister accused the UIC of being Al Qaeda (which loads of rubbish) and called for the international community and regional government to help them fight the UIC. There're reports that hundreds of Ethiopian troops have crossed the border to Baidao and are arming the government and warlords loyal to it in preparation for an assault on Kismayo or Mogadishu. It seems within the next few days either the UIC will advance into Baidao or the warlords, government and Ethiopia combined will attack first.

Technocrati Tags: Somalia, Africa

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