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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

SOMALIA: Monitoring committee condemns Mogadishu fighting

NAIROBI, 5 March 2003 (IRIN) - A newly-formed committee, set up to monitor a shaky ceasefire accord between the warring sides in Somalia, has condemned the escalation of hostilities Somalia particularly the fighting which has been raging in Mogadishu's Medina district over the last five days.

The latest round of fighting pits militias loyal to faction leader Muse Sudi Yalahow, and those of his erstwhile former right-hand man, Umar Mahmud Muhammad Finish. The fighting which has been going on for almost a week has claimed the lives of over 50 people, and 100 people have been wounded.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Committee on Monitoring the Cessation of Hostilities - made up of the US, EU, AU, Arab League and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) - demanded that "the parties cease hostilities immediately."

"They must abide by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by all the Somali leaders on 27 October 2002," it said.

Over the past week, there have been continued violations, with fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, the towns of Las Anod in the northeast and Baidoa in the southwest, and in the Bari, Bay, Bakol, Gedo and Lower Shabelle regions.

Somali sources told IRIN on Wednesday that serious fighting, in which over 20 people were killed, took place in the village of Raghe-El in Middle Shabelle region on Tuesday between forces loyal to faction leader Muhammad Habeb, and forces of the Muhammad Muse sub-clan of the Abgal.

Habeb, who defected from the Transitional National Government last year, controls the region's capital Jowhar, 90 km north of Mogadishu. According to local media reports on Wednesday, fresh clashes erupted in Baidoa between rival factions of the Rahanwayn Resistance Army, which controls much of the Bay and Bakol region in southwestern Somalia.

"The Committee reiterates its determination to ensure that appropriate measures are taken against individuals and leaders responsible for such destructive activities," the statement said.


Themes: (IRIN) Conflict


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