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Friday, November 14, 2008

Shabaab Captures World Food PRogramme Port in Somalia

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The African Union appealed to the United Nations to send peacekeepers to help stop the fighting in Somalia, after a week in which a radical Islamist group expanded its control in the war-torn Horn of Africa country.

The AU's Peace and Security Council asked the UN ``to take necessary steps to authorize the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia as a matter of urgency,'' according to an e-mailed statement.
  • Somalia is in its 18th year of civil war that has left at least 1.3 million displaced and nearly 40 percent of the country in need of emergency humanitarian relief.
  • This week the Islamic militia al-Shabaab captured the town of Merka in southern Somalia, a key port used by the World Food Programme to deliver relief supplies to 800,000 people in the region.
  • Somalia's internationally backed Transitional Federal Government now controls only pockets of southern Somalia and is largely supported by troops from neighboring Ethiopia.
  • The AU currently has about 3,400 peacekeepers in Somalia who have failed to halt the fighting.

The Rest @ Bloomberg Africa

On Nov. 5, the TFG signed a peace agreement with a moderate Islamist faction that called for the formation of a joint security force and the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. Al- Shabaab has rejected that agreement and is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Somalia. The U.S. considers al-Shabaab a terrorist group.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason McLure in Addis Ababa via the Johannesburg bureau at Last Updated: November 14, 2008 09:26 EST

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