From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Nov 25 2008 - 08:53:37 EST
Somali military official shot dead
Tue, 25 Nov 2008 09:09:28 GMT
Unknown gunmen have killed a high ranking Somali military official and one of his bodyguards in the south-central city of Baidoa.
The official, the top military figure in the region, was shot dead in Baidoa, 256 kilometers (159 miles) northwest of the capital Mogadishu and the home town of Somalia's parliament.
Moments later, foreign troops poured into the region but the assailants managed to escape. The troops have cordoned off the area, forcing markets to close down, a Press TV correspondent reported on Tuesday.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since warlords toppled Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. The ongoing violence in the country has resulted in the death and displacement of countless civilians.
Al-Shabab group, an offshoot of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), now controls most of the country, it has also advanced to the suburbs of Mogadishu and Baidoa, which are controlled by Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
Somali clerics call for force against pirates
Tue, 25 Nov 2008 10:36:43 GMT
The Iran-chartered vessel Delight was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia last Tuesday.
A Somali Clerics Council has called on Islamic states to use military force to bring an end to the escalating piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
"We welcome every Muslim state that can send warships and troops to fight the pirates," a Press TV correspondent quoted the council as saying in a statement on Tuesday.
The clerics condemned piracy at an emergency meeting at the Abu Hureira mosque in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, saying piracy 'has no place in Islam.'
The council lead by prominent cleric Sheik Nur Barood Gurhan added that it is prepared to assist Muslim countries and the international community to combat 'the devils' in the lawless waters off Somalia.
The Gulf of Aden which links the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea has been the scene of numerous pirate attacks this year.
Russian, NATO and European armadas in the area have so far failed to provide protection for vessels passing the strategic waterway.
To tackle the issue, many tanker owners are considering an alternative route, which would take ships around southern Africa. Such a move would increase shipping costs by 30 percent.
Shipping officials have called for a military blockade along the Somali coast. The initiative, officials say, may prevent pirate ships from heading out to sea.
NATO, however, has rejected the idea, saying that the alliance's mandate is to escort ships associated with the World Food Program and not to run anti-pirate patrols.
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