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Somalia Under Siege


Clashes have intensified in Somalia between pro-government fighters and extremists militias, adding to an already serious humanitarian crisis there.

All parties who claim to have the embattled nation's best interests at heart should cease hostilities and allow the Djibouti peace accords to work and settle their difference through the political process rather than continuing the ruinous armed conflict.

Since early this month, the capital Mogadishu has been under siege by extremists, including al Shabaab fighters, bent on toppling the young transitional government of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

The extremists, with links to the al Qaida terrorist network, have attacked the city with rocket and mortar fire, a wave of violence that has killed at least 110 civilians and forced thousands to flee. The African Union said it will bolster its peacekeeping mission in Somalia with the addition of more than a thousand troops from Sierra Leone and Burundi.

Even without the fighting, Somalia is facing one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes in the world. A 4-year drought is pushing the country into near famine conditions, and the displacement of millions has overwhelmed a national infrastructure that was weak to begin with.

Why do al Shabaab and other extremists believe toppling a government supported and aided financially by its neighbors and others in the international community will solve Somalia's many serious problems? Indeed, they only are making matters worse.

The United States condemns the attacks and urges a return to the bargaining table to achieve national reconciliation. It further calls on all governments in the region, especially Eritrea, to support the people of Somalia by aiding the Djibouti process and to cease all support to spoilers attempting to undermine the peace process and the Transitional Federal Government.
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