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BBC News Bewails ‘Out Of Control’ Somalia

From those defenders of the faith at BBC News:

Somalia forces ‘out of control’

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Civilians are completely at the mercy of armed groups in Somalia, says human rights group Amnesty International.

It says the situation is “dire” in the centre and the south with government troops, their Ethiopian allies and Islamist insurgents “out of control”.

They carry out killings, torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary detention and forced disappearances, a report says.

The Ethiopian government has dismissed the report as a “total fabrication” and demanded an apology.

“We have said repeatedly that our soldiers are the most disciplined soldiers in the world,” said foreign ministry spokesman Wahide Belaye.

“They have never cut anybody’s throat, never gang-raped any women, never deliberately shot civilians in Somalia.”

In Mogadishu, hundreds of people have stormed through the Bakara market area, hurling stones at cars and shops and setting fire to tyres in protest at rising food prices and fake currency.

Troops shot two people dead on Monday in similar protests.

People who have visited the capital, Mogadishu, recently say parts of it are a ghost town, but Amnesty says residents fleeing the city are prey for armed bandits on the road who rape women and girls and steal whatever they have taken with them.

Even in refugee camps, Somalis face attack, Amnesty says. It says no-one is offering them any protection.

The group says more than 6,000 civilians have been killed in Somalia in the past year.

Many of the accounts blamed Ethiopian troops for some of the worst violations – which appeared to be revenge for insurgent attacks, Amnesty says.

“Nothing justifies gang rape, slitting the throats of civilians or disproportionate attacks,” Amnesty’s Michelle Kagari told the BBC.

In one case, “a young child’s throat was slit by Ethiopian soldiers in front of the child’s mother,” the report says.

But this was strongly denied by the Ethiopian government, which says “the cutting of throats of even enemies is not in the tradition of Ethiopian troops”.

In another incident, the report quotes Haboon, 56, saying Ethiopian troops raped a neighbour’s 17-year-old daughter in 2007.

When the girl’s two brothers tried to help her, Ethiopian soldiers gouged out their eyes with a bayonet, she said.

The Ethiopian and Somali governments say they are fighting al-Qaeda-backed militants

Amnesty calls on the UN to condemn the violations in the strongest terms, strengthen its weapons embargo, increase its monitoring capacity, and set up a commission of inquiry…

Amnesty International and the BBC are pining for those palmy days when Somalia was under the control of the “Sharia Courts.”

You know, back when a citizen would be decapitated for wearing shorts, or watching soccer or not praying five times a day.

And of course they are doing all they can to bring that golden age back.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, May 6th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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