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Somalis warily tread their path back home

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Allow sahal amuuraha. :(


By Lutfi Mohammad, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service




Mogadishu: Somalis who fled the worst fighting this city has seen since the early 1990s have been warily returning, but few here said they believed the transitional government had defeated Islamist militias.


Mogadishu residents on Sunday recounted horrific stories of civilian casualties and massive structural damage during recent shelling by government and allied Ethiopian forces attempting to drive militants from the capital.


Prime Minister Ali Mohammad Gedi said government and allied Ethiopian troops were searching former strongholds of the Islamic Courts Union and supporting militias of dominant ****** clan. He called on people to disarm.


Gedi claimed victory over the Islamists on Thursday, and the capital has been calm since Friday. "Mogadishu is full of weapons, and the teenagers never knew the last government in 1991, so they won't obey any administration, only their clan elders," said Dahir Olad Gesey, 43, a teacher. "I am afraid that Somalia will be like a second Iraq.''


Cold blooded killing


Since the overthrow of dictator Mohammad Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has endured almost continual anarchy as warlords fought for dominance.


Islamist militants filled the void, taking over much of southern Somalia and the capital last year, while the divided transitional government led by Prime Minister Gedi languished in Baidoa, 140 miles northwest of Mogadishu.


On the streets of Mogadishu, Ethiopian troops opened fire on civilians, residents said.


Yasin Ebrahim Jesow said he watched as Ethiopian soldiers beckoned a friend of his to approach them, then shot him dead.


"They killed my friend, who obeyed their order," Jesow said Sunday outside his house. "I ran and they opened fire and I fell to the ground with the bodies of other people who had been killed in the front-line fighting. I was lying with the dead all night. In the early morning I rolled down quietly along the street until I could hide in a nearby alley and escape."


Halima Gulus, 27, said she fled the city with her six children and husband two weeks ago, but her husband and oldest daughter were killed in the street as they ran.


With no food, she walked 19 miles to Afgoye with her surviving five children, she said. Conditions were harsh for refugees, with no shelter and little food or water. She said some refugees were squabbling over the shade of trees.


Hassan said few people trust the transitional government but added, "A bad government is better than no government at all."


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