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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 four-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.