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.
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 email@example.com