Skip to comments.President's palace in Mogadishu attacked
Posted on 01/19/2007 11:55:12 AM PST by TexKat
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - At least two mortars slammed into Somalia's presidential palace on Friday night as explosions and gunfire rocked Mogadishu in the latest outbreak of violence in chaotic Somalia, witnesses and officials said.
"I can confirm two mortars have hit Villa Somalia," a senior government source told Reuters, of the building where President Abdullahi Yusuf stays. "We do not have word yet if there were casualties or not."
Yusuf arrived in Mogadishu days ago to take up residence in the bullet and mortar-scarred building but it was not yet known if the 72-year-old former soldier was there during the attack.
More than a dozen explosions boomed across Mogadishu and gunfire rattled out to break a lull in the violence of several days in the coastal capital of the Horn of Africa nation.
"I have heard more than a dozen explosions ... now there is gunfire," said Reuters reporter Sahal Abdulle.
Ethiopian troops, who helped the Somali interim government drive Islamists out of Mogadishu over the New Year, have in past days been the target of attacks from unknown groups.
Suspicion has fallen on remnants of the defeated Islamists, who vowed to launch guerrilla strikes against the Ethiopians whom they regard as illegitimate occupiers of Somalia.
Two former Islamists told Reuters earlier on Friday they had infiltrated Mogadishu again and planned to attack Villa Somalia and other targets
In the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, an African Union (AU) mission to Somalia recommended that it send peacekeepers for six months before handing over to the United Nations.
Diplomats see international peacekeepers as the only way to stabilize Somalia once Ethiopian troops return home.
But with Uganda the only country to pledge troops publicly, funding uncertain and African politicians wary of a messy engagement in a nation in anarchy since 1991, many think it will be a difficult task to muster such a force.
An AU commission that visited Mogadishu in recent days recommended a 7,650-soldier force, or nine infantry battalions of 850 each, be deployed to Somalia "as soon as possible."
"The mission should be deployed for a period of six months ... with a clear understanding that the mission will evolve to a United Nations mission," the commission report said.
Fresh from a trip to Mogadishu, the U.N. envoy to Somalia joined AU officials in Ethiopia. "I see a small window opening for peace and reconciliation," said Francois Lonseny Fall who met Yusuf in Mogadishu on Thursday.
"The city is under the control of the government. Warlords have continued to disarm," Fall said, adding that the United Nations would aid AU peacekeeping efforts.
European Union foreign ministers are set to offer 15 million euros to AU peacekeepers but will also, at a meeting on Monday, voice concern over this week's ouster of Somalia's parliamentary speaker who was deemed pro-Islamist, diplomats said.
"The EU will say it remains concerned by the current state of the reconciliation process," an EU official said.
"It is of the utmost importance to ensure that all key stakeholders, including clan elders, Islamic leaders, representatives of the business community, civil society and women, are engaged," a draft text agreed by EU envoys says.
The region's main military power, Ethiopia, wants to withdraw its troops quickly. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the BBC on Friday his forces were to start leaving "in the next few days."
(Additional reporting by David Mageria and Jeremy Clarke in Nairobi, Jack Kimball in Asmara, Ingrid Melander in Brussels)
Top U.N. envoy to Somalia Francois Lonseny Fall (C) addresses the media after his meeting with interim Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf at the presidential palace, Villa Somalia, in Mogadishu January 18, 2007. Fall, making his first visit since a war last month, said on Thursday the Horn of Africa nation now has its best chance to end 16 years of anarchy and bloodshed. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti (SOMALIA)
Idiots. "Let's leave a little bit of the cancer. Every life form has a right to live."
Somebody is unhappy about getting their butts kicked by an outside force - Ethiopia.
Find the losers and eliminate them from the face of the earth.
Good point about idiots and their P.C. attitudes regarding life forms.
Thanks. Europe may want to capitulate to Islam but they don't need to impose their cowardice on everybody else. The Somalians have enough problems without becoming slaves to radical ragheads. Ethiopia and Kenya are doing them a big favor by killing all those Islamo-nazis. And some focused help from us with an AC130. Now the Euro-twits and the UN want to come in and undo it all. At some point rational people are going to have to stand up and tell the truth. The UN causes more problems than it solves.
Absolutely. They should treat the UN the same way they deal with Al Queada. Get out or die.
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