Mogadishu: Inexperienced Ugandan Kids on a Suicide Mission
From Reuter's Sahal Abdulle Via Le Monde
MOGADISCIO (Reuters) - Rebels attacked Somali government forces and their Ethiopian allies in Mogadishu shortly after mortars were fired at the arriving African Peace Force as they debarked in the Somali capital.
A hundred insurgents attacked a government base located in the former Defense Ministry HQ in Mogadishu’s industrial area.
Clashes between government forces and rebels lasted approximately an hour in which at least two civilians were killed.
“They were fighting with rocket launchers and machine guns,” declared Anab Mohammed, caught in the crossfire inside a hospital in the combat area.
Shortly before, more than a dozen explosions were heard at Mogadishu International Airport. The attack was commenced shortly after the arrival of an advance force of 350 Ugandan soldiers. A Ugandan Army spokesman said that no soldier was wounded.
“The military area of the airport was hit but we cannot get through the lines to reach the spot", said a Somali reporter who witnessed the mortar barrage.
LACK OF MEANS
Most Ugandan soldiers were flown in by the Algerian Air Force. Last week, a first detachment of 35 Ugandan soldiers arrived in Baidoa, where Somalia’s provisional government institutions are located.They are the first members of an international peacekeeping force deployed to Mogadishu since the failure of the UN and United States missions during the 1990’s.
...This force, which may reach 8,000 troops, including 1,600 Ugandans, is to replace Ethiopian troops who participated last December with Somali government forces in the successful offensive against Islamic militias holding Mogadishu and most of the south of the country since June.
...“This is a suicide mission. No sensible person would send 1,600 men to Somalia right now. Moreover, they are sending boys who have no experience in this type of mission", said an unidentified Western diplomat in Kampala.
As Sudan’s Darfur region, the African Union faces a lack of human and financial means. “I hope that our partners will assist us in overcoming the financial and logistical difficulties facing the African" Union, said Said Dijinit, the African commissioner in charge of peace and security.
...The situation in Somalia is very unstable and Mogadishu is the theater of daily attacks on government and Ethiopian forces.
...The Ugandans [Note: inexperienced kids!] have been assigned the particularly delicate task of restoring calm to Mogadishu, one of the most dangerous cities on earth.