In Somalia US warplanes and Ethiopian attack helicopters have killed up to 70 nomadic tribesmen, while the pro-US militia is spreading terror among ordinary people. So says Dahabo Isse of the Somali Civil Liberties and Human Rights Organisation.
“All the victims were innocent people, and their deaths give a lie to the claim that the US is targeting an Al Qaida group in Somalia,” said Dahabo.
“There are no Al Qaida fighters – they cannot operate in Somalia without the agreement of the warlords. What is happening is that when two tribes are in dispute, one will accuse the other of supporting Al Qaida in order to win the support of the US.
“Over the last 15 years no single tribe has been able to dominate Somalia. Now one group is getting backing from Ethiopia and the US and is therefore able to defeat its rivals.
“Under the government of the Union of Islamic Courts – ousted by the Ethiopian invasion – at least we had peace. There was little crime and the checkpoints where the militia would harass us disappeared. Now the militias are back and once again people are living in fear.
“Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the interim president, has shut down all the radio stations and imposed martial law. Ethiopian forces and the troops of the interim government are looting Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.
“The people who are losing their loved ones at the hands of these troops will hate US policies even more than they do already. Eventually there will be guerrilla war.”
Oxfam revealed the attack on the nomads. It said in a statement that, “according to the reports from local organisations in the Afmadow district, bombs have hit vital water sources as well as large groups of nomads and their animals who had gathered round large fires at night to ward off mosquitoes”.
“We want to show that there is opposition to US policy in the region,” says Dahabo. “The US’s talk of democracy is double standards. They are imposing a dictator on Somalia.”
For more go to A new front in the ‘long war’
Dahabo Isse is speaking alongside Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition and Jeremy Corbyn MP at the Hands off Somalia public meeting on Wednesday 17 January, 7pm, Room G50, School of Oriental & African Studies, Thornaugh Street, London WC1.
Protest outside US embassy on Friday 19 January, 5pm. Grosvenor Square, London. Called by Somali Civil Liberties and Human Rights Organisation, African Liberation and Support Campaign Network. Supported by the Stop the War Coalition