Sunday, November 07, 2004

Somalia: general shot, wounded

Gunmen shot and seriously wounded a prominent Somali army officer in an attack widely seen in the region as a warning to the African Union (AU) not to deploy peacekeeping troops, residents said on Sunday.

Former General Mohammed Abdu Mohammed was shot four times in the chest and shoulders by three masked men armed with pistols and an assault rifle as he emerged from a mosque near his house on Friday, residents reached by telephone from Kenya said.

The attack in north Mogadishu's Shibis area happened several days after he expressed support for the deployment of AU forces in media interviews and at discussion groups on law and order.

Somalia's new president Abdullahi Yusuf has asked the AU to send 20 000 peacekeepers to help disarm the militias who rule the damaged country of up to 10 million and collect the millions of small arms owned by Somalis.

[...] But several militant Islamist groups in Mogadishu long hostile to Yusuf have expressed opposition to the deployment of foreign forces, saying without elaborating that their use would be against Islam and that they would transmit "diseases". (source)