Thursday, December 28, 2006

Somali government troops enter Mogadishu

That was quick:

Somali government troops rolled into Mogadishu unopposed Thursday, the prime minister said, hours after an Islamic movement that tried to establish a government based on the Quran abandoned the capital.

The Islamic militia promised a last stand in southern Somalia.

"We are in Mogadishu," Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi said after meeting with local clan leaders to discuss the handover of the city. "We are coordinating our forces to take control of Mogadishu."

Gedi was welcomed to the town of Afgoye on the outskirts of Mogadishu by dozens of traditional leaders from the capital and hundreds of government and Ethiopian troops who have been fighting for more than a week against the Islamic militia. The Islamic fighters had at one point taken over the capital and most of southern Somalia.

The Islamic movement's retreat early Thursday, which its leaders called tactical, was followed by looting by clan militiamen, some of whom had been allied to the Islamists. It was a chilling reminder of the chaos that had once ruled Mogadishu.
I'm not a military strategist but isn't it the object to take land, not to give it up? How is this tactical?

Then there's this:
President Abdullahi Yusuf said Thursday his troops were not a threat to the people of Mogadishu.

"The government is committed to solving every problem that may face Somalia through dialogue and peaceful ways," the statement said.
This attitude may explain this:
Two years ago, the United Nations helped set up the interim government. It had been unable to assert much authority, in part because it has been weakened by clan rivalries.
And there is also this:
Islamic fighters have gone door-to-door in Kismayo, recruiting children as young as 12 to make a last stand on behalf of the Islamic courts, according to a confidential U.N. situation report citing the families of boys taken to the frontline town of Jilib, 65 miles north of Kismayo.