Mogadishu: The Burundian Nightmare

Burundian Peacekeeper Killed by Al-Shabab


As the battle rages on through its sixth day and the capital rocks with explosions and the rattle of gunfire, so does the journey of the corpses of Burundian peacekeeper’s in Somalia. In addition to the seven peacekeepers killed by the Islamists in Wednesday’s raid on the Ministry of Defense building, the corpses of yet another NINE peacekeepers were yesterday paraded around the capital city and neighbouring towns. Claiming to have killed a total of 16 Burundian peacekeepers (plus one taken as prisoner) in the course of the recent battles, Al-Shabab fighters have been receiving an unusual support from many of the displaced population here.

The nine corpses were yesterday driven to Ceelasha Biyaha, apparently after residents there requested to see the corpses of ‘the enemy that has displaced us from our homes.’ It is said that hundreds of angry people had gathered at the scene. Many of them accused the peacekeepers of deliberately targeting and shelling populated residential areas in the capital, thus forcing them to relocate to Ceelasha Biyaha or Afgooye. A woman, speaking to local radio stations, said:

‘it is these infidels that have killed my three sons. They have destroyed my home and my family, and it is because of them I now live in this small tent with no food and no one to look after me. Damn them infidels!’

Another caller, a businessman, said:

‘I’ve had to relocate my business to Ceelasha Biyaha because of AMISOM’s shelling. My shop was destroyed by a mortar. I have lost a everything and had to start afresh. They deserve what they got. They deserve to be killed. Why do they keep killing our people? Why did they cross thousands of kilometres and come to our country to bomb our people. If they want peace they should go back to their country.’


Crowd surround the corpses


Peacekeepers’ Bodies on the Ground






The angry public could not be managed. Women and children soon began kicking and dragging the corpses of the peacekeepers. Many of the women had even removed their sandals and began hitting the corpses. Mogadishu’s residents, however, also point the finger of blame at the West, particularly the US. But the US is not directly involved in the daily Mogadishu battles, save for their ‘special operations’ that target ‘known’ terrorists.


Women hitting the corpse
Sticks & Sandals







Through the Somali government and the AU forces, the US has tried everything to crush the Islamists without directly becoming entangled in the mess that Mogadishu is in – including the flawed CIA-funded counter-terrorism operations that enlisted the services of notorious warlords in 2006, or coaxing tribal leaders in Al-Shabab controlled regions to revolt against the islamists and giving handsome payments to tribal/clan elders in the tiny government-controlled areas.

None of them seem to have worked, and now with the escalating battles, the US will face some difficult choices. According to Katherine Zimmerman at Critical Threats:

“The prospect of al Shabaab taking control of Mogadishu is alarming and requires a much more careful examination of Western policies toward the Horn of Africa than they have so far received. But the details of the potential collapse of the TFG need even more urgent consideration. Even if the TFG can be saved, it is quite possible that military exigencies on the ground in the coming weeks or months will lead to requests for external military assistance by AMISOM forces. The U.S. may well face some difficult choices

About Mogadishu Man
Blogging from Mogadishu seems somewhat inconceivable doesn't it?

5 Responses to Mogadishu: The Burundian Nightmare

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  4. Somali Pundit says:

    Interesting. But you fail to mention that the jihadists lost their main military base at the Ministry of Defence and the Milk Factory in addition to an unknown number of casualties (the AMISOM Burundi spokesman put it at 80). Doesn’t seem like much of victory to me.

    As for the reaction to the corpses, I would guess that some of that is perhaps genuine, some of it certainly a propaganda ploy. The extremists, like extremists everywhere of whatever shade, have very little support in the city.

    Finally, your characterisation of the TFG as a US proxies is unfair. It is in fact led by the former leader of the Islamic Courts Union, an organisation that was hardly the American’s BFF. Yes it now sports many Somalis from the diaspora, many educated in the US, but that doesn’t mean they are doing Washington’s bidding. I would say that most exhibit a genuine desire to help the country. Even the recently released ICG report, which trashes the TFG, admits that “the respected new finance minister, Hussein Halane, has been making serious attempts in recent months to inject professionalism and transparency into the revenue collection and management system, as well as to strengthen internal mechanisms governing dispersal of government money. So far he appears to have a free hand to revamp the ministry and create a more open and accountable fiscal and monetary system.”

  5. twinomugisha brian says:

    peaceful means are the only way out.

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