Five Somalis were killed Saturday in Mogadishu’s restive Bakara market.


Halkaan ka akhri

Somalis were killed yesterday in Mogadishu’s restive Bakara market area as police were conferring with locals on ways to make the locality secure, witnesses and security sources said.

Eyewitness Hassan Abdalla said gunmen shot down two people in the sprawling area’s Abdala Shideye district.

“I’m not sure why they were killed but people said they were selling electronic equipment to Ethiopian forces based near the presidential palace,” said Mohamed Adan Hussein, another witness.

In a separate incident in the Bakara market area, a 16-year-old boy was shot three times in the head, said witness Halimo Elmi.

According to other residents in the volatile district, two more people were shot dead as they were exchanging money.

In recent months, the Somali capital has been plagued by a spate of guerrilla-style attacks against the government forces and the Ethiopian troops backing them.

The embattled transitional government blames the violence mainly on the Islamist militia which briefly controlled large parts of the country before being ousted earlier this year with the help of the Ethiopian army.

But some neighbourhoods of Mogadishu have also been rocked by criminal and gangland killings.

Police said the latest violence in the Bakara area took place even as security forces were holding talks with local merchants to explore means of stemming the daily violence.

“Our security committee members are having talks with the merchants to curb the violence and killings in the market area,” said police spokesman Abdulwahid Mohamed.

“The future security of this market is uncertain, because it has become a daily butchery where people are killed every day,” he said.

“We need to talk because if the merchants and security forces disagree on ways of securing the area, this can not remain a market area much longer,” said Haji Abdulahi Mohamed, who owns in shop in Bakara.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the violence in Mogadishu in recent weeks and are often the main victims of insurgent roadside bomb and grenade attacks, as well as of the government forces’ response.

Rebellious Somali leaders yesterday warned of a full-scale war in the conflict-torn Horn of Africa nation to push out Ethiopian troops deployed to back the feeble transitional government.

The warning came as 350 Somali rebel delegates, gathered in the Eritrean capital Asmara, continued with talks to map out a strategy against Ethiopian troops in Somalia.

“The violence is escalating in Mogadishu … Ethiopia has pulled out of several areas due to the stiff resistance and fierce fighting of the liberation forces,” said the conference spokesman Zakariya Mahamud Abdi.

“We are expecting a full scale war” in the Somali capital, that has been convulsed by near-daily guerrilla-style attacks, and elsewhere, he said.

“We will fight them in the towns, we will fight them in the villages, we will fight them in the pastoral areas,” Abdi, a former member of the interim government, added.

“We have enough spirit and incentives and materials to liberate our country.”

The conference also chided the US for its tacit support of Ethiopia, which last year deployed thousands of troops in Somalia to oust an Islamist administration.

“The people were deeply concerned about the international community’s continuing silence and indifference to the Ethiopian occupation. They are very critical of the blind support of the US and the Bush administration to the brutal dictatorial regime of Addis Ababa,” Abdi said.

The conference rejected claims of links to the Al Qaeda.

“There are no terrorists in Somalia, but the wrong polices of Western powers, and especially the US, could create havoc in the region and might cause an uncertain future problem and conflict in the region,” Abdi warned.

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