A city martyred and abandoned
Le Monde devoted some space in its on-line columns a couple of week ago to the situation in Mogadishu -an absolute nightmare. This is just a glimpse:
13 November: 173,000 people flee Mogadishu over the last two weeks - Le Monde and AFP
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says 90,000 residents of Mogadishu have fled the capital to the town of Afgoye, where 100,000 former residents of the capital have sought shelter, provoking an enormous humanitarian crisis: people are living under trees and out in the open. Pro-Ethiopian Somali forces shut down Radio Shabelle and Radio Banadir, accusing the stations of supporting the rebels. Employees escaped, running for their lives.
14 November: The Somali capital devastated, the victim of a war with no rules by Jean-Philippe Remy.
Mogadishu has been methodically destroyed by Ethiopian troops and the allies of the transitional government of Abdullahi Yusuf, the TGF. Because rebel militias were able to regroup and engage them in frontal assaults, the Ethiopians and the TGF reacted by going house to house in the capital, forcing out the residents and stealing their possessions. The poorest collapsed along the roadsides, with nowhere to go and no food to sustain them.
The troops of Addis-Abeba lost all discipline and aimed their artillery at homes and markets. The main market, Bakara, which last year was booming and filled with goods, is no more. Every storage depot and warehouse in the city has been sacked. The sheiks vainly call on the international community to end the massacre. The cruelly injured, those with potentially mortal wounds and missing limbs, can get no medical care.
16 November: Sweeps through the neighborhoods of Mogadishu, theater of urban warfare without pity, by Jean-Philippe Remy
For the first time in its history, the Bakara Market is as quiet as a tomb. The portion of Mogadishu that has not been destroyed is teeming with people displaced and homeless in other parts of the city. Rebel militias are responding to Ethiopian artillery with Katyusha rockets. Warlord Abdi Qeybdid, recruited by the US to "fight" the war on terror and now the TGF's police chief, lost 50 men to rebel attacks. The TGF is losing control of the northern part of the capital. At SOS Hospital, staff refuses to treat wounded rebels for fear of retribution by the TGF.
Mogadishu Governor Mohammed Dheere insisted that security was improving as rebels blew up a troop transport carrying Ethiopian troops.