Somali Parliament Draws Fire

26.04.10

Categorie: Africa, David Axe, Somalia |
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by DAVID AXE

It’s a tragic routine: whenever the parliament of Somalia’s U.S.- and U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government meets in Mogadishu, Islamic groups target government installations and the TFG and the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force, “AMISOM,” fight back.

All three groups “use  heavy artillery and mortars in the over-populated areas where many civilians lose their  lives,” War Is Boring correspondent Hiddig Jamaal reported on April 22. Fear of the bombardment following many parliamentary meetings drives people indoors.

“Today, most people did not got to their shops and other normal work  in Bakara Market for fear of heavy fighting between the Islamists and the TFG, backed by AMISOM,” Hiddig wrote. “Also many people flee in Yaqshid, Wardhigley Hodan and Howlwadag districts to other safe areas for fear that shelling may reach their houses.”

“All these districts are place where the Islamists are in control,” Hiddig pointed out. “Likewise, people who live near the National Assembly fled their houses in case of  shelling from the Islamists.”

“I cannot go to my shop because fighting may erupt  at any time, anywhere,” Abdala, a shopkeeper in Bakara Market, told Hiddig.

But the April 22 evacuations proved unnecessary, as parliament delayed its meeting. “Some people went back late today after hearing that there is no session.”

Officials of the transitional government said that the meeting of the lawmakers was delayed for technical reasons and due to the absence of some of the instruments intended for the session, like the machines, microphones and so on — adding that it would be held the following Saturday.

The postponement of the parliament’s session comes at a time of great dispute between the lawmakers of the TFG that has caused the parliamentarians to be divided into two sides.

Five masons who took part the repair of the National Assembly were killed overnight. Their bodies were seen this morning in Islamist-controlled areas. Their heads were cut off, according to sources.

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