From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Nov 19 2008 - 13:09:41 EST
Somali unrest continues to take toll
Wed, 19 Nov 2008 11:28:13 GMT
UIC has taken control of most parts of Somalia.
At least 28 people, including civilians have been killed in clashes across Somalia, as violence continues to dominate the war-torn country.
In Gedo region, unknown gunmen opened heavy fire on the Bulo Hawa town administration headquarters where a group of elders were discussing ways of rescuing two Italian nuns kidnapped near the Kenya-Somalia borders.
The incident left seven people dead including five gunmen and two civilians. Two other civilians were also injured, Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported on Wednesday.
Also in South Mogadishu, heavy fighting broke out between Somali presidential guards and al-Shabaab forces, killing six soldiers and injuring nine others. Thirteen al-Shabaab fighters also lost their lives in the attack, Press TV reported government sources as saying.
Meanwhile scholars in Bay region, southwestern Somalia, welcomed the new administration established in the Lower Shabelle region by the Union of Islamic courts (UIC).
The Islamic Courts have so far taken control of most parts of Somalia, including Lower Shabelle region and they are now focusing on capturing the capital, Mogadishu.
UIC's advance on Mogadishu in recent days has raised the stakes in an insurgency that is the latest manifestation of 17 years of civil conflict in Somalia since warlords toppled a dictator in 1991.
Somali pirates hijack two more ships
Wed, 19 Nov 2008 08:16:21 GMT
Pirates seize two more ships despite a large international naval presence.
Somali pirates have hijacked two other ships, a Greek bulk carrier and a Thai fishing boat, despite a large international naval presence.
The Greek vessel which had between 23 to 25 crew members was taken on Tuesday in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of lawless Somalia, the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program said on Wednesday without giving further details.
It followed the hijacking, also in the Gulf of Aden, of a Thai fishing boat heading to the Middle East.
The Kiribati-flagged boat with 16 crew members, made a distress call late Monday as it was chased by pirates in two speedboats but the phone line got cut off midway.
The latest spates of hijackings come after the weekend's spectacular capture of a Saudi supertanker, which was the largest hijack in history.
The pirates have demanded a large ransom for the Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star, a ship three times the size of an aircraft carrier and loaded with oil worth more than USD 100 million, one of the authors of the attack told Al-Jazeera television on Wednesday.
"Negotiators are located on board the ship and on land. Once they have agreed on the ransom, it will be taken in cash to the oil tanker," said the man identified as Farah Abd Jameh, who did not indicate the amount to be paid.
A surge in piracy in the notorious Gulf of Aden has prompted an unprecedented response from NATO and the European Union among others, with shipping companies beginning to consider alternate routes to avoid the pirate-infested waters.
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