Somali Jihad and Stuff Update. “Somali Capital Now Calm After Month in Which 1,000 Were Killed,” by Jeffrey Gettleman in the New York Times, with thanks to Arjun:
NAIROBI, Kenya, April 27 “” An eerie calm slipped over Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on Friday for the first time in a month.
After intense combat that killed more than 1,000 people, insurgents melted back into the broken city, and hundreds of families began to return home.
The transitional Somali government claimed victory, saying that its troops had vanquished the insurgency and that peace and prosperity were just around the corner. “The fighting in Mogadishu is over,” said Abdikarim Farah, Somalia’s ambassador to Ethiopia, at a news conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“Mogadishu was once called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” he said. “God willing, it will come to deserve that name again.”
But the insurgency is probably not over.
Instead, it seems, the insurgents have simply absorbed the same lesson that the Islamist militias learned in December when the conflict started: that undisciplined bands of young fighters are no match for better trained, better equipped Ethiopian soldiers.
“Their snipers were killing us left and right,” said Mohammed Isse, 45, a gunman who left an Islamist militia to join an insurgent group.
Mr. Isse estimated that Ethiopian soldiers had killed more than 800 insurgents. Still, he was unbowed. “We”re just going to switch tactics,” he said. “We”re thinking suicide bombs, kidnappings and attacks on government hotels.”
“Stuff like that,” he added.