Somalia’s Only Hope for Peace?
Amnesty’s hard-hitting report on human rights abuses in Somalia should make everyone stop and think. Mogadishu has long been a city of death and destruction (apart from a six-month period of quiet as the Islamic Courts imposed their own brand of security on the city) so there is no great shock to hear that the killing continues.
But the real concern now is the role played by Ethiopian soldiers and forces loyal to the Transitional Federal Government. While Amnesty – much like other NGOs and pressure groups – says all sides are to blame, it is increasingly apparent that it is the Ethiopian and government forces who are responsible for the vast displacement of people. The report details numerous cases of extrajudicial killing, brutal revenge attacks in the wake of insurgent atrocities and deliberate targeting of civilians. Ethiopian soldiers have taken to slitting victims’ throats – “slaughtering like goats”, as the locals say.
This poses a massive problem for the international community, which has poured millions of dollars into the shaky TFG trying to shore up Somalia’s only chance of peace. Last year the European Commission, Somalia’s biggest donor, was warned it risked being prosecuted for war crimes because of its funding.
Somalia has a new prime minister, the sort that donors believe will clean things up. But for now the killing continues and there are no other horses to back.