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Somalia: Tension high between Ethiopia and the Islamic courts


Somalia: Tension high between Ethiopia and the Islamic courts.

There is a semblance of calm and people are engaged in their normal business after 14 years of lawlessness. Somalia also faces a daunting task of reconstruction as the entire infrastructure is broken down but tension is rising as the Islamic courts threaten to fight the Ethiopian troops alleged to be in their country.

Ali Iman Sharmarke is the managing partner of Afrik Media.

From the Somali capital Mogadishu he told Voice of America reporter Douglas Mpuga that although there is calm now what is preventing a war between Ethiopia and the courts are the floods that have made movement difficult. “It has been very calm in the last five months, the security situation has improved and there are no gun men on the streets” he said. “However there are no necessary services for the public; water and electricity are still missing. The Islamic Courts are trying to rebuild some of the roads but I think it is beyond their financial and technical capacity”. Sharmake noted.

On the tension between Ethiopia and the Islamic courts, Mr. Sharmake said there is a fear that the two sides will clash, as there are thousands of Ethiopian troops that crossed the border in parts of Southern and Central Somalia. He said it is a matter of time before the war breaks out between the Islamic courts and the Ethiopian troops, “..there are floods in Somalia and many roads are impassable. In my assessment the only thing that is holding the two sides not to fight now is the conditions on the ground. As the ground dries up there is a possibility the war will start”. Two rivers bust their banks as a result of heavy rains causing floods in several parts of the country.

Mr. Sharmake said there is accusation and counter accusation on the recent suspected car bomb that exploded in Bakin near Baidoa. “There is on person who was injured in the blast and he is in the custody of the Transitional national government (TFG). They (TFG) are not allowing anyone to talk to that person; that is the person who should know who was involved in that incident”, said Sharmake. It is not clear what caused the explosion or if the car was packed with explosives.