From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Nov 01 2008 - 20:17:55 EST
Baidoa's govt, police bases captured
Sat, 01 Nov 2008 00:54:08 GMT
Hundreds of Somalia's Rahanweyn clan militia in collaboration with escaped government soldiers capture government and police bases in Baidoa.
The attack came after government soldiers took a businessman into custody linking him to anti-government groups, Press TV correspondent reported from Mogadishu on Friday.
He said that after the attack, which caused the death of many government soldiers, the businessman were released.
There was no military response from the Ethiopian soldiers occupying Somalia other than creating road blocks in front of their bases.
The correspondent said that civilians looted the stored food from the captured bases. He added that hundreds of people who were detained in jails without trial for some 11 months were also set free.
In related news, our correspondent said that heavy fighting is going on between the Ethiopian soldiers and insurgents in south Mogadishu.
Eye witnesses talking to the correspondent have confirmed that five bazooka rounds were fired at an Ethiopian military vehicle killing eight soldiers.
Meanwhile, twenty mortars have landed inside the Ethiopian Pasta base in north Mogadishu.
In both instances, the actual casualty figures are not available, the correspondent said.
In another incident, unknown gunmen killed two men near a tea shop in KM 17 located between Mogadishu and Afgoye. The reason for the killing in not known.
'Somali pirates cut ransom, set deadline'
Sat, 01 Nov 2008 15:56:55 GMT
The pirates have reportedly lowered the ransom money for MV Faina's release.
Somali pirates, holding the Ukrainian ship MV Faina, have reportedly asked for less ransom while setting a two-day deadline for its payment.
Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat wrote that the bandits had settled for a $5 million ransom money for release of the vessel budging on their previous $8 million demand.
The money had to be delivered up within the next 48 hours, the newspaper added claiming the pirates were about to bring down the curtain on the long-running negotiations over the standoff.
Piracy off the troubled Somali waters has captured more international attention since the vessel's September 25 seizure and the entrapment of its 20 crewmembers.
NATO and Europe have dispatched their frigates to watch the situation there with a specific view to preventing the pirates from offloading the ship's cargoes. Faina was reportedly taking tens of military armaments including T-72 tanks, anti-aircraft missiles and automatic weapons to Kenya.
Last week, however, the spokesman for the ship's allegedly Israeli owner, Vadim Alperin said the pirates would not go ahead with move daunted by the strict naval surveillance.
Somalia's coastal region of Puntland has taken the brunt of the unrelenting piracy which has ensnared 30 ships in waters off the Horn of Africa nation, this year alone.
Seven killed in fresh Somali violence
Sat, 01 Nov 2008 11:14:13 GMT
Ethiopia will begin pulling out its troops on November 21.
Three Ethiopian soldiers and four Somali civilians have been killed in capital Mogadishu, a week after the signing of a peace pact.
Eyewitnesses told Press TV correspondent that they saw three young men running away after they gunned down three Ethiopian soldiers near a school in the Wardhiigley District south of Mogadishu.
The Ethiopian soldiers were carrying out house-to-house searches when they were killed in the ambush, our correspondent said.
In a separate incident, four civilians who were riding in a minibus were killed south of the capital.
"The soldiers ordered these four men to get out of the bus and sleep on the ground. They shot them in their heads and began looting the minibus," one of the minibus' passengers told our correspondent.
Somali army spokesman Daahir Mohamed Hirsi however denied the report, saying no government soldier would kill civilians.
"Army uniforms are available from any store in Mogadishu. If some men are wearing uniforms, it doesn't mean they are government soldiers," he said.
The report comes a week after Somalia's government signed a landmark peace agreement with opposition groups in Djibouti.
According to the agreement, Ethiopian troops are to start the pullout on November 21 and will be ultimately replaced by UN forces. Until then, African Union (AU) peacekeepers, Somali troops and ARS security forces are to maintain the order.
Insurgents have stepped up their attacks on government and Ethiopian targets in recent months, vowing not to relent until Addis Ababa withdraws its soldiers from Somalia.
Opposition head in Somalia on peace drive
Sat, 01 Nov 2008 18:11:22 GMT
Sheikh Sharif has returned to Somalia after two years.
Senior Somali opposition leader returns to the country after two years in an attempt to settle the differences within the oppositionists.
The Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported on the record reception of the chairman for the Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad in the southern town of Jowhar where he has just arrived from Nairobi, Kenya.
Amid ratcheted up security, Sheikh Sharif was warmly received by myriads of crowds in the town where he is expected to stay some two weeks while receiving visits from local clerics, he said.
Sharif had left the country in 2006, after the Ethiopian military intervention lead to the ouster of the dominant Somali opposition group Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).
He had recently reached an accommodation with the Somali leadership in Djibouti phasing out the withdrawal of the Ethiopian military who had stepped in to help the beleaguered transitional administration against unrelenting insurgency.
Representing the ARS, Sharif is to hold talks with UIC and its military wing, al-Shabaab.
His trip could have also been prompted by the UIC's recent denunciation of the Djibouti pact.
Senior cleric Sheikh Nur Barood Gurhan, however, expressed optimism for ultimate resolution of the differences.
Sharif was accompanied by Sheikh Abdurahman Janaqow, Colonel Omar Hashi Adan among other opposition figures.
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