Bush’s Ethiopia-Somalia proxy war spills over into Kenya


East Africa, mapReuters reports:

By Noor Ali

GARISSA, Kenya – Kenyan soldiers and helicopters bolstered defenses at the Somali border on Wednesday to stop fighting from spilling over after Ethiopian warplanes attacked fleeing Islamists on the other side of the frontier.

A local police commander said a Kenyan helicopter had escaped undamaged after being shot at by Somali militia and an Ethiopian missile targeting Islamists strayed into Kenya late on Tuesday. …

Residents of Liboi, a Kenyan border post, said they saw Ethiopian war planes flying over the Somali town of Doble, 25 km (15 miles) away, late on Tuesday. They then heard shooting which tailed off after midnight.

“When we heard the gunshots we panicked, although we knew it could be these groups fighting across the border,” said Liboi businessman Abdi Rage.

“The security forces are many here and it is like we are also involved in this fight. Vehicles are moving up and down the border.

Thanks, George W Bush.

Iraq and Afghanistan are apparently not enough.

It had to be Ethiopia and Somalia as well.

And now, Kenya as well.

And the tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea (whose government is far from ‘Islamist’, by the way), which had cooled somewhat, are flaring up again.

Just what Africa needs, “Dr” Bush! [Sarcasm off]

See also Jeff Weintraub’s blog.

Meanwhile, in Ethiopia itself: trade unionists tortured.

6 thoughts on “Bush’s Ethiopia-Somalia proxy war spills over into Kenya

  1. AFRO-ASIAN PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION – AAPSO
    PERMANENT SECRETARIAT

    Consultative Status- ECOSOC, DPI, UNCTAD, UNIDO, UNESCO.
    Observer Status- NAM and African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.
    89, Abdel Aziz Al-Saoud St. Manial El Roda, P.O.B.: 61-11559 El Malek El Saleh, Cairo, Egypt
    Tel: (202) 3622946 – 3636081 Fax: (202)3637361 E. Mail: aapso@idsc.net.eg / aapso@tedata.net.eg
    WebSite: http://www.aapso.fg2o.org

    Dr. Morad Ghaleb, President of AAPSO
    issued the following statement on behalf of
    the Permanent Secretariat.

    AAPSO ON THE SITUATION IN SOMALIA

    The confrontations in Somalia has reached a higher degree of tension with the direct involvement of Ethiopia by its jets bombing on several towns held by the Council of Islamic Courts (CICs) including Mogadishu and its international airport. The attack has occured with simultaneous fightings around Baidoa where the Somali Transitional Government (TG) is based. The attack has sparked a very serious developments of the situation which might lead to the flaring-up of the whole Horn of Africa.

    The fight for power to rule in Somalia has been threatening to bring the TG and the CICs into a civil war, leading to almost nothing the commitments already agreed earlier during negociations between both sides. This adds to their opposite stands regarding the UN Resolution 1676 on Somalia which is stalled for implementation. The TG has the backing of the international community, while the CICs vehemently opposed to any form of foreigh intervention.

    Any open and covert interference of parties outside the country into the Somali conflict, might pave the way for the Horn of Africa to become the theater of dangerous confrontations with unpredictable consequences and devastating repercussions of the political crisis on the African subregion.

    The only way to avert such situation will be for the Transitional Government and the Somali Islamic Courts to return to negociations and settle the problem in a peaceful manner.

    AAPSO urges the African Union, the Arab League and the international community to push both parties to go to that direction in order for them to find a far-reaching solution to the conflict and help stabilize the situation in the war-thorn country of Somalia.

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  2. Ethiopian teachers union fights to survive
    Submitted on 12 January, 2007 – 13:52 :: Africa | Solidarity 3/104

    By Sacha Ismail based on a longer article by Wondimu Mekonnen, former lecturer at Addis Abba University and Ethiopian Teachers’ Association

    On 14 December, Ethiopian Teachers’ Association (ETA) activist Ayalew was detained without a warrant by the Ethiopian government. Ayalew has reportedly been tortured and denied medical treatment while in police custody. His relatives and fellow ETA members are now extremely worried, as they have not known either his health condition nor his whereabouts since 18 December. Another activist, Mengistu, disappeared on 15 December.

    For fifteen years the Ethiopian government has been attempting to dismantle Ethiopia’s trade union movement and the ETA has been at the sharp end of this repression.
    When it chose its leadership in 1992, the ETA defied a government expectation that it would fragment along ethnic lines and elected people pledged to defend the profession. Those elected promised to improve the living standards of teachers, reinstate academic freedom, raise educational standards, win access to education for all and establish democracy in the country. The regime moved to disband the leadership and reorganise the union on an ethnic basis, but the union resisted.

    After a number of battles, including a mass sacking of lecturers involved in the ETA at Addis Ababa University, the ETA had its bank accounts frozen, its head office closed, its property confiscated and many of its leaders and activists dismissed, arbitrarily imprisoned, disappeared and murdered. When the courts ruled in favour of the union, the government dismissed the judges in question, appointed new ones and upped the repression.

    In 1997, the regime’s murder squads gunned down ETA Deputy General Secretary in cold blood on his way to his office. Many Executive members have faced detention and torture. Kebede Desta, the President of the Retired Teachers’ Association, meanwhile, had his eyes gouged out for refusing to testify against Woldesemiate.

    For the last ten years, the Ethiopian government has been attempting to get its fake ETA leadership recognised by the courts.

    In spite of it all ETA has not stopped organising on workplace issues and it still takes a political lead on issues such as the fight for democracy and combating AIDS.

    With the support of the Education International union federation, the ETA will be hold a conference from 7-10 February in Addis Ababa. In the process many activists may be detained or even killed. Solidarity is urgently needed.

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  3. Kenya: Plea From Marooned Village On the Border With Somalia

    The Nation (Nairobi)

    16 May 2007
    Posted to the web 15 May 2007

    Mazera Ndurya
    Nairobi

    Life at the border village of Kiunga is yet to return to normal, several months after a security operation to lock out refugees fleeing from war-torn Somalia. The operation led to closure of the Kenya-Somalia border.

    A section of Kiunga, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Lamu district.Photo /MAZERA NDURYA
    Africa 2007

    The sound of military aircraft hovering in the sky and heavily armed Kenyan and American security personnel has now ebbed. But the residents still live in fear, both of an influx of Somali refugees and of the resultant military crackdown.

    There is, currently, a scaled down presence of security officers. But continued closure of the border has changed the fortunes of about 5,000 area residents.

    Kiunga is one of the poorest border towns in Kenya.

    There is relative calm and enhanced security now, but poverty and hunger still plague the fishing and farming community. This is mainly because the people cannot carry out their daily chores normally.

    Closure of the border has made life difficult, as villagers used to benefit from cross-border trade with the Somali village of Kiamboni.

    Kiunga is virtually marooned. It is cut off from neighbouring Somalia and is inaccessible by road. Only the daring can use the rough and stormy sea to get in and out of the village.

    The two villages have many things in common. For instance, they have Bajuni communities, which have a common ancestry.

    Adversely affected

    A team of elders from Kiunga, who we met at Lamu, said the economy of the village had been adversely affected as the cost of essential commodities like sugar and cooking oil had gone up.

    “We can sleep in the open without any fear of being attacked or robbed because security officers are everywhere in the village. But security is not enough. We need food on the table. Life has been very difficult for us,” said fisherman Ali Abdala Kitubebe.

    He was accompanied by Mr Mohamed Jirmo Fumo, Mr Yusuff Kitele and local councillor Abdalla Baabad during a visit to Lamu to seek assistance on thatching materials and to follow up on relief supplies.

    Cut off by a poor road network that connects Kiunga with Lamu, and a rough sea, the elders are worried that the situation may worsen with the long rains.

    Over the years, Kiunga, which is about 100 kilometres from Lamu by road, has been affected by flooding during the rainy season. This is usually the case for several months before the road dries up and becomes passable.

    Several villages – among them those inhabited by the hunting and gathering Boni community, such as Mangai, Mararani, Milimani and Basuba – become inaccessible from Lamu by road.

    “We have come to Lamu to get the attention of the Government and the relief agencies. We are headed for disaster if help is not offered soon,” the elders said.

    They visited the offices of the Kenya Red Cross and the district commissioner, among others, to appeal for tarpaulin as their houses may be destroyed by the rains. They also asked for more relief food to last the rainy season.

    The usual thatching material from coconut palm fronds is in short supply, and quite expensive.

    “The residents are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford makuti, which is scarce and expensive.

    Dire situation

    “One piece costs about Sh45. An ordinary house would require between 100 and 300 pieces. It may seem very little money, but not so with the dire situation in the village, especially now when we are preoccupied with getting food,” said Kitubebe.

    Lorries that sometimes get to Kiunga to buy fish are not able to do so now because of the impassable road. The economy is on the plunge, with residents relying on relief supplies.

    Kiunga is one of the leading contributors to fish business in Lamu District. But the local residents are very poor. They do not earn enough from fish, mainly because of an inefficient transport network,” said the local councillor.

    “Poverty has greatly affected the people’s way of life, leading to under-enrolment in schools and lack of esteem among civil servants posted to the area,” councillor Baabad said.

    Generate income

    Statistics from the Lamu District Fisheries Office show that Kiunga fishermen earned a paltry Sh8 million last year from 229,236 kilogrammes of fish sold.
    Africa 2007

    The area has immense potential. It can harvest up to one million kilogrammes of fish and generate more income for the people, but the fishermen are constrained by lack of resources.

    At this time of the year, Kiunga suffers huge losses as harvested fish cannot reach the market. What’s more, the villagers’ small vessels cannot go beyond the surrounding reef in the rough sea.

    About 99 per cent of the livelihood of the community is derived from fishing. That is why the residents want an all-weather road to access the market.

    The community also needs proper fishing gear to exploit the exclusive economic zone.

    The Provincial Administration says the situation in Kiunga can be very bad during the rainy season, “but it has not reached a crisis level”.

    “We have been supplying relief food to the area. But regarding the other materials needed, the best the Government can do is to recommend that they approach organisations like the Kenya Red Cross,” said DC Nkoidila ole Lankas.

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  4. Pingback: US ‘humanitarian’ military invasion of Somalia? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: US airstrikes in Somalia kill many civilians | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Pro-US Ethiopian dictatorship jails pro-US Somali MP’s | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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