From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Dec 13 2008 - 18:37:49 EST
Ethiopian troops kill 11 Somali civilians
Unarmed Somali civilians shot dead by Ethiopian troops in retaliation for
MOGADISHU - Ethiopian troops killed 11 Somalis after being attacked by
insurgents on a road between Mogadishu and the town of Afgoye, witnesses
said on Saturday.
The incident took place late Friday and local residents said those killed
were unarmed civilians shot dead by the Ethiopian troops in retaliation for
the insurgent ambush.
"The Ethiopian troops killed 11 civilians late Friday and their bodies were
collected this morning," said Mohamud Ibraim, a resident of the area where
the incident occurred.
"The killing took place at a water collection point in Kaba Hirig of
Wanlaweyn district in the Lower Shabelle region," he said.
Maryan Mohamud, a mother of four, said that two of the killed were family
"Gunmen attacked Ethiopian troops on the road from Mogadishu to Afgoye. They
attacked a truck with a roadside bomb and then opened fire," she said.
"The Ethiopians came to the area moments later with reinforcements and
massacred unarmed civilians. Ten were shot at point blank," she added.
"The killing was a clear retaliation by Ethiopian troops after they were
attacked by the Shebab," Abdullahi Hassan, a 68-year-old local resident,
He charged that the 11 men were not in possession of firearms but were shot
The Ethiopian military was not available for comment but the website of the
Shebab insurgents accused the Ethiopian troops of executing civilians.
"We are telling the Ethiopians they should expect more action from us, the
people they killed were poor nomads," said a message posted on the website.
"The Tigray forces collected people from the water well and shot them one by
one in the head," said the website, which also carried a picture of the
The Ethiopian army invaded Somalia in late 2006 to rescue Somalia's
embattled transitional government and oust the Islamic Courts Union (ICU),
which controlled of much of the country's central and southern regions.
The ICU had ruled much of Somalia with relative peace and prosperity until
the Ethiopian involvement.
Since then, ICU fighters have waged a deadly insurgency against the
Ethiopian and the transitional government forces.
But Ethiopian troops' retaliations have caused many casualties among Somali
Since the Ethiopian invasion, about one million Somalis have fled their
homes. An estimated 6,500 civilians have been killed.
Aid workers estimate 2.6 million Somalis need assistance. That number is
expected to reach 3.5 million by the end of the year if the humanitarian
situation does not improve, according to the UN.
In May 2008, Amnesty International accused the Ethiopian troops in Somalia
of increasingly resorting to throat-slitting executions, highlighting an
"increasing incidence" of gruesome methods by Ethiopian forces that include
rape and torture.
Since the ousting of the ICU, Somalia had plunged into unprecedented chaos,
where warlords and pirates have returned to the scene.
Many in Somalia see the departure of Ethiopian troops as a precondition to
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