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Somalia

Yearbook 2009

Somalia. When the outside world thought that the situation in Somalia was as bad as it could be, things got even worse in 2009. According to countryaah, the Ethiopian forces that invaded the country in December 2006 returned home in January, having failed to secure control of the Somali government. The Ethiopian gaps were immediately filled by Islamist militia, mainly among them al-Shabab with suspected ties to al-Qaeda. Several cities were taken over by al-Shabab, who also gained a foothold in the capital Mogadishu. A moderate Islamist faction led by Sharif Sheik Ahmed, after brief negotiations concluded peace with the government, after which members of his group were allocated seats in parliament, who then elected him president. The post of formal head of state had been vacant since shortly before the turn of the year. Ahmed appointed new Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, son of Somalia's last elected president, assassinated in 1969. The new government's offer to al-Shabab for peace was rejected and fierce fighting broke out in Mogadishu and other cities. The government's decision to introduce Islamic law, Sharia, did not appease the Islamists either.

2009 Somalia

Continued fighting in the spring, which especially in Mogadishu demanded the lives of many civilians, drove tens of thousands of people to flight. They joined the hundreds of thousands who previously lived in miserable conditions in tent camps. In addition, Somalia was affected by what was said to be the worst drought in many years. The humanitarian crisis in the country was now described as the worst in the world. After Mogadishu's police chief, the security minister and another prominent politician were murdered in the course of three days, so many MPs fled abroad that the assembly was no longer resolute. The government announced a state of emergency and desperately appealed for foreign military intervention. However, no country was officially rescued, although there were reports that small Ethiopian allies had returned to Somalia. The United States sent weapons and ammunition, and a strengthened government army was able to recover some lost land from the Islamists during the autumn. In addition, there were signs of a split between the most fierce Islamist militia, which in October was reported to be fighting battles over control of the important port city of Kismaayo.

In early December, about twenty people were killed in a suicide attack, attributed to al-Shabab, against a hotel in Mogadishu. Three of those killed were ministers. The perpetrator turned out to be a Danish of Somali birth who recently returned to Somalia after living almost his entire life in Denmark. It was also revealed during the year that al-Shabab successfully recruited members among young men of mostly Somali birth in Stockholm. "A handful" of people with a Swedish passport were killed in fighting, according to SÄPO.

During the first half of the year, piracy operations off the coast of northern Somalia increased dramatically and a large number of vessels were hijacked. Three Swedish warships with a total of more than 150 crew members were included in the EU force for four months, patrolling the waters, primarily to escort UN vessels delivering relief aid to the refugees.

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