East Africa to Somalia’s rescue, Eritrea to be sanctioned

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The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have held an emergency meeting, in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, to prevent the overthrow of Somalia’s interim government. The East Africa group wants Eritrea, Yemen and Arab nations backing the Islamist insurgence to be sanctioned. They have also demanded further sanctions against Eritrea.

In a meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, IGAD demanded the international warships off the Somali coast, hunting pirates, to enforce sea barriers. The group also demanded sanctions to be imposed against Eritrea and Yemen. Eritrea, already suspended from IGAD, could now be barred from the African Union.

IGAD claimed that there is incontrovertible evidence that Yemen and Eritrea are involved in arming, training, recruiting and supplies to the insurgents in Somalia. According to a statement released by the group, the UN, other than humanitarian flights, must bar all flights to the numerous air strips under Islamist control and prevent by all possible means, further in-flow of arms and foreign fighters.

Somalia has been subject to a UN arms embargo for many years but weapons are still freely available in the Mogadishu weapons market

Yesterday a two hour gunfire exchange between Islamist forces and African Union peacekeeping troops in the capital, Mogadishu claimed three civilian lives. The ongoing offensive against Somalia government and African Union troops has been fueled by an influx of foreign armed fighters, arms and funds, leading to the death of hundreds of people and forcing thousands from their homes.

The Western-backed interim government with the help of some 4,000 AU peacekeepers only control parts of the capital; the airport, seaport and the presidential palace. On Tuesday, reports claimed that Ethiopian troops had returned to Somalia to add weight to the under-attack Somalia government, four months after leaving.

There has been no functioning national government in Somalia since 1991 and years of fighting have left a third of the population in dire need of food aid.

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