Saturday, December 23, 2006

Somali Diaspora Network Issues Appeal

On behalf of the Somali Diaspora Network, Hassan Warsame today published the following appeal to the contending parties in Somalia. I personally subscribe to it without reservation.

Renewed Conflict in Somalia

Fairfax, Virginia, December 23 - We are deeply saddened and troubled by the renewed fighting and hostility in Somalia. It has been reported that hundreds of civilians and combatants including Ethiopian troops lost their lives or were seriously wounded because of the fighting for the past several days. In addition, thousands of civilians are caught in the cross fire and are in a dire humanitarian situation. As a result, large crowds of civilians have started fleeing the effected area and are dispersed into the bushes with no food, water or shelter.

Somali Diaspora Network issues the following direct appeal to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and to the Somali Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) leadership:

  • Immediately stop the fighting without any condition;
  • Disengage your forces and return them to their previous positions;
  • Establish security protocol teams to monitor and oversee the ceasefire and the disengagement;
  • Return to the Khartoum peace conference promptly.

The above appeal will be futile if the presence of foreign troops inside Somalia is not addressed. Independent media has confirmed that Ethiopia committed large mechanized battalions of its army into Somalia. In addition, it has sent tanks and attack helicopters to the battlefields deep into Somali territories.

Therefore, in order to avoid the escalation of the conflict into regional dimension, we urge both sides to banish foreign troops from Somalia. In particular, we, plea to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to work toward securing the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops immediately from all Somali territories. Reciprocally, we urge the Somali Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) leadership to pull back their forces from Baidao and surrounding vicinities and refrain from future use of force.

We wish to remind the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Somali Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) leadership the seriousness of a new conflict and the resulting tragedy and human loss to the Somali people who have already suffered enough from years of anarchy, civil war, famine, and now deadly floods and new conflict. We urge both sides to return to the peace talks and commit to a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

CONTACT: Somali Diaspora Network
Hassan Warsame


Frank said...

Following via e-mail from a Somali friend in the U.S. on December 24:

I don't want to sound belligerent but I think the appeal should have been to Somalia and Ethiopia (and the US). The islamic courts have brought peace and justice to southern Somalia but the United States and Ethiopia have decided to stop the Islamic courts not for the benefit of the Somali people but for their own interests through the current fighting. The "government" is very unpopular and cannot muster enough forces to defend itself, so the real protagonists in this war are Ethiopia, US and the Islamic courts. The appeal should be to them as they can make a difference.

frank said...

On December 26, from an American friend who is an expert on U.S. policy toward Africa:

In August, I was very positive about the UIC. Now, I believe that the military arm of the UIC has been hijacked. I hope the civil society guys can take it back. I don't see why the UIC doesn't just call for a free and fair election. They would win in a landslide.

frank said...

On December 27, via e-mail from a Somali friend affiliated with the World Bank:

The people of Somalia are suffering from severe flooding and associated health, food and shelter problems. The war need to stop and the parties should go back to Khartoum for reconciliation.