Despair as Somali peace talks end

Somali BBC contributor shot dead
somali fightingUnited Nations-brokered talks to end 17 years of conflict in Somalia have been ended because the UN envoy said neither side would make concessions. Ahmedou Ould Abdallah said busy international diplomats could not be held hostage by personality disputes.

He said the continuing fighting was terrible for the people of Somalia.

At least 28 people were killed during clashes between Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian troops backing the Somali government over the weekend.

On Sunday at least 12 people were killed in a third consecutive day of heavy fighting near the main Bakara market in the capital, Mogadishu.

BBC Somali service reporter Nasteh Dahir was also killed on Saturday by suspected Islamists in the southern port of Kismayo.

Optimistic

“I made the decision to terminate the conference,” Mr Abdallah told a news conference in Djibouti late on Sunday.

Mr Abdallah had persuaded teams from both the government and the opposition to go to neighbouring Djibouti in May in the latest attempt to negotiate an end to the anarchy in Somalia.

But they declined to meet directly.

The opposition insisted that a timetable be drawn up first for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia.

But Somali government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon was more optimistic, expressing hope that the peace initiative had not broken down irretrievably.

“We have high hopes that talks can succeed,” he said in Mogadishu.

But he said that Ethiopian troops could only leave once a UN peacekeeping mission came to Somalia.

Some 2,200 African Union troops are in Mogadishu but have done little to quell the violence which has triggered a humanitarian crisis that aid workers say may be the worst in Africa.

It is estimated that the conflict has created more than one million refugees.

Somalia has experienced almost constant civil conflict since the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre’s regime in January 1991.

‘Targeted’

The International Federation of Journalists has condemned the killing of Nasteh Dahir on Saturday, and urged the international community to do more to restore stability in the war-torn nation.

The reporter, who worked for both the BBC and Associated Press news agency, was shot in the chest and stomach outside his home in Kismayo, about 500km south of Mogadishu.

The National Union of Somali Journalists said it was a “targeted assassination” and that the 26-year-old had received death threats.

At least nine other journalists have been killed in Somalia since February 2007, according to human-rights group Amnesty International.

Correspondents say Islamist insurgents are suspected in the attack on Mr Dahir.


Somali BBC contributor shot dead

Somalia map

Gunmen in the southern Somali city of Kismayo have killed a local journalist.

Nasteh Dahir, who worked for both the BBC and Associated Press news agency, was shot in the chest and stomach outside his home.

The National Union of Somali Journalists said it was a “targeted assassination” and that the 26-year-old had received death threats.

Somalia, mired in chaos and violence since 1991, is among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.

At least nine other journalists have been killed in Somalia since February 2007, according to the human-rights group Amnesty International.

Islamist insurgents are suspected in the attack on Mr Dahir, correspondents say.

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Posted by on June 9, 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.