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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09NAIROBI951 2009-05-11 14:04:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Nairobi
Cable title:  

SOMALIA - FIGHTING ERUPTS IN MOGADISHU

Tags:   PGOV PREL PTER SO 
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VZCZCXRO1160
OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #0951/01 1311404
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111404Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9485
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RUZEFAA/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 000951 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/E AND A/S CARSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER SO

SUBJECT: SOMALIA - FIGHTING ERUPTS IN MOGADISHU



1. (SBU) Summary: In the worst fighting in months, on May 9-10
Islamic extremists allied with Hisbul Islami clashed with
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops and TFG-allied militias
in Mogadishu. Over 60 Somalis were killed, including civilians, and
hundreds more injured and displaced. Sporadic shelling reportedly
continues in Mogadishu. TFG officials say that TFG-allied
former-Islamic Courts Union militias and their leaders, including
Yusuf Mohamed "Indha Adde" defected to the Islamists during the
fighting. The government has lost control of the important
Industrial Road area of Mogadishu. TFG soldiers and police are
holding defensive positions along Sodonka Road in the Hawl-Wadag and
Wardhigley neighborhoods. The Prime Minister told us the TFG will
require more arms and ammunition in the days ahead, and asked us and
the wider international community for help. End Summary.


2. (SBU) On May 9-10, TFG-allied former Islamic Courts Union (ICU)
militia clashed with al-Shabaab and Hisbul Islam (HI) forces in
Mogadishu in the bloodiest fighting in months. Over 60 Somalis were
killed, including at least 20 civilians. Scores were wounded and
displaced. According to media reports, sporadic mortar fire
persists.


3. (SBU) By May 10 radical Islamists held swaths of the Wardhigley
and Yaqshid districts hitherto under the control of the former ICU
and Yusuf Mohamed "Indha Adde"-allied militia. Al-Shabaab and HI
now control the Industrial Road area from the former Ministry of
Defense compound to the Pasta Factory. According to several TFG
sources al-Shabaab and allied militia now have full or partial
control over six out of Mogadishu's 16 districts, up from five of 16
as reported by TFG officials in March.


4. (SBU) After May 10's heavy fighting, the government withdrew the
remaining loyal ICU militias into the city center to rally them,
Security Minister Omar Hashi and Intelligence Chief Mohammed Sheikh
told us on May 11. They were replaced with 1,000 TFG soldiers and
police, who blocked further al-Shabaab advances on May 10 at Ba'aad
Market and in the vicinity of the Tafiq Hotel. However, Minister
Omar Hashi told us that these TFG forces had failed to retake ground
during three counterattacks May 11, and were relegated to holding
defensive positions along Sodonka Road spanning the Hawl-Wadag,
Wardhigley and Yaqshid districts. Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke
joined Minister Hashi in reporting that the government will soon
need arms and especially ammunition to bolster their
counter-attacks. Contrary to some media reports and al-Shabaab
claims, AMISOM was not involved in the fighting.


5. (SBU) Some ICU forces loyal to the TFG defected to al-Shabaab,
according to Minister Hashi and the Prime Minister. Sources in
Mogadishu told us Indha Adde first betrayed the TFG by provoking a
clash with Hassan Dahir Aweys, a fellow Ayr clan member, without TFG
approval on May 9 only to surrender to Aweys, giving up his heavy
weaponry and militia. According to TFG MP and former defense deputy
minister Salad Ali Jelle (Hawiye/Habr Gedr) Indha Adde's Ayr militia
and most of the Habr Gedr clan militia in TFG-allied ICU switched
sides to join their former Islamist comrades. That left only the
Abgaal--president Sharif's clan -- and other mostly non-Habr Gedr
ICU militia and original TFG military and police on the TFG's side.



6. (SBU) Multiple sources tell us Al-Shabaab's fighters clearly
included Middle Easterners, Asians, and non-Somali Africans. The
self-proclaimed Banadir region al-Shabaab chief did not deny that
foreign jihadists were taking part in the clashes. He said "we do
not distinguish between jihadists [and native Somalis], and we'll
seek and accept support from our brothers whatever their
nationality." Unconfirmed reports indicate an estimated 400 foreign
Jihadists are in Mogadishu, although that number may be inflated.


7. (SBU) These May 9-10 clashes erupted following a number of
attempted and successful tit-for-tat assassinations involving
al-Shabaab and the former ICU, the most recent on May 7, when the
ICU attempted to kill a senior al-Shabaab commander on the outskirts
of Mogadishu.


8. (U) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on May 11 held a press
conference at Villa Somalia to call for immediate cessation of
hostilities. The most important goal of his government is to avoid
civilian casualties, he said. President Sharif blamed unnamed
foreign countries for supporting the current wave of violence. He
said people who have made violence a profession and a way of life
are behind the conflicts in Somalia. He reiterated his government's
commitment to dialogue and reconciliation to spare Somalis from
further suffering. In a clear reference to Inda Adde, Sharif
criticized those who have "broken their pledges and turned their
back on peace."


8. (SBU) Comment: As al-Shabaab did in Kismayo, Baidoa and Merka,
it has taken advantage of local clan rivalries, in this case between

NAIROBI 00000951 002 OF 002


the Hawiye/Habr Gedr/Ayr and the Hawiye/Abgal, to score a military
success. TFG officials with whom we spoke said they were confident
they could prevent further TFG advances, but would need weapons and
ammunition soon. We noted to Minister Hashi that AMISOM had the
most ready supply of both. He responded that AMISOM would need
instructions to share them. All of our contacts also cited the
conspicuous presence of "foreign fighters," reportedly especially
south Asians and combatants from the Middle East,in the fighting.
End Comment.
RANNEBERGER