“Somalia fears key Ramadan dates will bring more attacks,” from the Mail & Guardian, August 27 (thanks to Twostellas):
Mogadishu’s battered civilian population is bracing itself for further fierce fighting, with Islamist rebels expected to step up attacks on government-allied forces and African Union peacekeepers towards the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
More than 70 people have died in the Somali capital since the start of the week, when the al-Shabaab militia declared a new “massive, final” war on the government. Among the victims were 33 people, including six MPs, who were killed in a massacre by al-Shabaab militants at a hotel on Tuesday.
Residents near the frontlines took advantage of a brief lull in fighting on Thursday to escape to safer areas or out of the city, ahead of an expected resumption in clashes.
“Everyone is very afraid of what is going to happen in the next few days,” said Bashir Yusuf Osman, manager of the Peace hotel in Mogadishu, in a telephone interview. “People believe that there is no way to stop this fighting.”
Amid the heaviest clashes in the battle-scarred city for about six months, the rebels have captured ground from government troops and their allied militias on several fronts. Six thousand African Union peacekeepers have however managed to protect the presidential palace and other important locations, such as the airport and seaport. The presence of the Ugandan and Burundian soldiers is likely to ensure that the fragile transitional federal government (TFG) survives the latest onslaught, according to Somalia analysts.
But security experts advising humanitarian organisations working in the country have warned that the rebels, who killed 73 people in suicide bombings in Uganda last month, could attempt further “spectacular attacks” to coincide with two important dates in the Ramadan calendar. The first is Saturday, the 17th day of the fast, a celebration of an important Muslim victory over unbelievers in the seventh century. Monday is the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad’s conquest of Mecca….
Just like that time Jesus led an army to slay his unbelieving enemies– no, wait…
And for good measure, Mail & Guardian: whose prophet?