Somalia: Ethiopians target refugees, killed 10

Published on Sunday 13th July 2008

Somalia: US-backed Ethiopian troops in Somalia have killed and tortured displaced Somalis living in the refugee camps of the capital, Mogadishu.

At least 10 civilians have been killed and 15 badly beaten as part of a campaign by Ethiopian troops to root out militants in the Daynille and Bangala refugee camps.

According to reports, Ethiopian soldiers burst into the camps accusing residents of involvement with the armed wing of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) movement.

Witnesses say a number of local traders were among the dead and that Ethiopian soldiers had stolen money, Press TV correspondent reports.

Elsewhere in Mogadishu, two civilians were killed when a group of unidentified armed men opened fire on Somali government soldiers in the Gen Daud district.

One government soldier was also killed during a 20-minute exchange of fire. Soldiers from a nearby military base arrived later and reportedly opened fire on the crowd of people, injuring five.

The continuing violence in Mogadishu comes just days after UN-mediated talks held in Djibouti ended with an agreement to cease hostilities within one month, demanding the withdrawal of US-backed Ethiopian troops currently supporting Somalia's Federal Transitional Government (FTG).

The deal also calls for a UN force to replace Ethiopian forces but gives no clear indication on the size of the force required to prompt an Ethiopian pullout.

The UIC considers US-backed Ethiopian troops in Somalia to be an occupying force and says it will continue hostilities until a full withdrawal.

The UIC had brought stability to much of Somalia and had gained control of the capital Mogadishu until Ethiopian troops entered the country to support the FTG in late 2006.

Amnesty International says that in 2007, around 6,000 civilians were killed and more than 600,000 forced to flee their homes in Mogadishu alone.