Somalia: Peace Bid a ‘Nightmare’
Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)
31 October 2007
Posted to the web 31 October 2007
The path back to stability in Somalia is a “nightmare” the Kenyan foreign minister that helped install the country’s beleaguered government has told reporters – in the wake of resignation of Somalia’s prime minister.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Raphael Tuju spoke as Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed held crisis talks with tribal elders and clan leaders to appoint a new prime minister a day after Ali Mohamed Gedi resigned.
“In Somalia, efforts to re-establish a central authority in that country have proven to be a nightmare,” Tuju told reporters in Nairobi, a rare confession from a man who once saw hope in his efforts.
Tuju lamented that 16 years of endless internecine fighting have resulted in a steady flow of small arms into Kenya, further deepening insecurity. About 80 percent of Africa’s small arms and light weapons lie in the hands of civilians.
Kenya hosted more than two years of convoluted peace talks that resulted in the the election of Yusuf in in 2004, but the move has failed to restore stability.
Nearly a year since Ethiopian forces, with tacit US backing, chased an Islamist movement that threatened to vanquish the government, the country is plagued by a ruthless insurgency led by the movement’s remnants.
Joint Somali-Ethiopia forces and at least 1,500 African Union (AU) peacekeepers from Uganda have failed to restore even a semblance of stability in the face of insurgents.
Bloody clan brawls after the 1991 ousting of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre has turned into an endless civil war, exacerbated by the US hunt of Al-Qaeda linked extremists it believes are hiding in Somalia.