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United Nations condemns attacks against AU forces in Somalia
Mogadishu, 15 March.2007 - THE UN Security Council on Tuesday condemned attacks against African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Somalia and urged all Somali parties to foster an ‘inclusive political process.’
Ugandan troops, which form the vanguard of the expected 8,000 strong peacekeeping force, have been attacked three times since they arrived a week ago, injuring two soldiers.
A statement read by the South African Ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, who chairs the 15-member council this month, said members “expressed concern at and deplored the violence in Mogadishu.”
They condemned the attacks against the AU stabilisation force in Somalia and the leaders of the transitional government.
The Security Council also pressed all parties in Somalia to continue to work “on a representative and inclusive political process” and called for a “rapid deployment” of further AU troops.
The members further expressed “great concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation” and called on donors to provide financial and logistical support to the AU peacekeepers as well as to Somalia’s transitional federal institutions.
At least 14 people died and 32 were wounded when unidentified gunmen attacked the Presidential palace on Tuesday. The city was reportedly calm yesterday, a day after the attack, which occurred as President Abdullahi Yusuf shifted base from the town of Baidoa to the capital.
“These numbers are only the ones we have seen,” a doctor in one of the hospitals said. “Many people, particularly those in camps don’t have the means to go to hospitals and bury their dead and take care of their wounded at home, so the death toll could be higher.”
Mogadishu deputy mayor Ibrahim Shaaweye was also injured when his vehicle hit a remote-controlled explosive device.
The attacks have been blamed on remnants of the Union of Islamic Courts, which was ousted from the city in last December.
However, there are claims that several warlords may have a hand in the attacks.
Many residents have fled the city to escape the daily exchange of mortar and artillery fire.
Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi yesterday appealed for $42m to help improve security ahead of a peace conference.
“Simply put, they will be the largest and most far-reaching reconciliation efforts that have ever taken place in the history of Somalia,” Gedi told journalists and representatives of donor nations in Nairobi.
The prime minister announced he would welcome moderate Islamists to the congress as long as they came representing their clans and subclans and not as representatives of the Islamists.
Several western donors have made their financial support conditional on the government’s willingness to welcome Islamists into the conference in a bid to stem the violence.