Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Looting in Mogadishu

Waves of looting, gathered from an article by Jean-Philippe Rémy of Le Monde

On Friday 27 April, waves of looting swept over Mogadishu as the Ethiopians claimed victory over the insurgents.

On Industrial Road,one of the main arteries in the vast area held by the insurgents for a month, the Coca-Cola plant, the only factory working in Mogadishu, was emptied a crowd that included forces of the transitional government (TGF), who said they have not been paid....They left bare walls, having carted off everything from the sugar stores to the generators to tens of thousands of bottles of Coke. As Ethiopian forces extended their hold on the city, looters attacked every building that had been abandoned by security guards, fearful of being taken for Islamic fighters, who held most of the city with the held of the largest tribes.

At the Hormuud Telephone Company, near the spaghetti factory, looters took away $50,000 in Somali shillings, which they stuffed into jute bags, as well as every piece of office equipment and furniture, including computers, said Ahmed Yusuf, Coca Cola President for Somalia. "I called Ethiopian command in Mogadishu for protection but they replied that they were there to force al-Qaeda out of the capital, not to guarantee public order. They told me to call the TGF".

But at that moment, TGF were looting every warehouse in the city and the quarters that had supported the insurrection....

Most technicians, businessmen and city notables had supported the insurrection and are fleeing the city with everything they can carry because President Abdullahi Yusuf will certainly redistribute the spoils to his supporters.

The looting only worsens the terrible result of one month of fighting: massive urban destruction and 1,500 dead according to ELMAN, which was close to the insurgents. But this number represents only the unburied. 400,000 people [1/3 of a city of 1.5 million] have fled the capital. Others who are seeking to leave have found the streets barricaded by Ethiopian troops, who will conduct house to house searches looking for suspected insurgents. Dozens if not hundreds of people have already been arrested. But most high-ranking insurgent leaders left the city a few days ago.



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