Accessibility links

Officials Meeting in Somalia, Egypt Urge End to Mogadishu Conflict


Leaders of the largest clan in Somalia's capital have met with officials of the Ethiopian army to try to stop further violence in the city. Meanwhile, in Egypt, diplomats from Europe, the United States, and the Arab world discussed how to end the fighting that has ravaged the capital during the past few days. Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Nairobi.

Elders from the Hawiye clan, the most dominant clan in Mogadishu, held an early-morning meeting before talking with Ethiopian commanders about the violence that has been gripping the city since late last week.

Mogadishu-based Hawiye elder Osman Sheikh Hassan describes to VOA the basic purpose of the meeting.

"I think it is a solution of the last four days' war," he said. "They want a solution to the fighting last week."

Somalia was also the subject of discussions in Cairo, where diplomats from the United States, Europe, the Arab world and Africa met under the umbrella of the International Contact Group on Somalia to discuss how to end the conflict in Somalia.

They called for immediate action to bring stability and security to the war-torn nation, identifying reconciliation between warring clans, a ceasefire, and rehabilitation as top priorities.

According to the French news agency, Norwegian State Secretary Raymond Johansen urged Ethiopian troops to withdraw from Somalia, saying that the "Ethiopian presence in Somalia is not sustainable."

Also attending Tuesday's meeting in Cairo, which was hosted by the Arab League, was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer.

The meetings follow four days of intense fighting in the Somali capital between Ethiopian troops and insurgents. One Ugandan soldier was killed in the fighting.

Aid agencies estimate that dozens of civilians were killed during the four-day violence and about 10,000 people have fled Mogadishu since late last week.

Ethiopian troops came to Somalia late last year to help the country's transitional government oust the Islamic Courts Union. There are also about 1,500 Ugandan peacekeeping troops in Mogadishu as part of the African Union peacekeeping mission for Somalia.

Meanwhile, an official with the Kenyan branch of the Seafarers Assistance Program reported that a cargo ship called MV Nimatullah was hijacked at Somalia's main port of Mogadishu.

Details of the ship, its crew and its hijackers are still unclear.

XS
SM
MD
LG