Somalia: Fighting continues, Hungry men loot aid truck

Published on Wednesday 25th June 2008

Somalia: Somali rebels launched an organized attack on a government position Tuesday in the capital Mogadishu, as a group of hungry people stormed a UN food aid truck and looted all its contents.


The fighting started after heavily armed insurgents attacked Somali police officers manning a checkpoint where tax is collected from commercial traffic, witnesses reported.

An unconfirmed number of officers were killed during the firefight, which took place in the southern outskirts of town, with insurgents briefly taking control of the checkpoint.

But Ethiopian soldiers soon joined the fight, forcing the insurgents to withdraw.

Mogadishu residents said shells being exchanged between the warring sides hit parts of the city interior, including locations in Hodan district.

By midday, the fighting reportedly stopped and Ethiopian troops were in control of the checkpoint.

In related news, Ethiopian forces conducting house searches along Industry Road found weapons caches, including explosives and materials used to for landmines, according to military insiders.

At least one person was reported dead after police officers protecting a UN World Food Program (WFP) truck that left the Port of Mogadishu was looted by hungry civilians, witnesses said.

Three others were wounded during the chaotic situation. The bullets did not stop the looters and all the food on the truck was taken away.

One witness told Garowe Online that the truck's driver and his aides ran out of the vehicle as tens of hungry people surrounded them. The driver returned to an empty truck later and drove it back to the port.

The WFP truck was transporting food to the outskirts of Mogadishu, where hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the insurgency live in extreme poverty.