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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gunmen kill 65 Ethiopians and 9 Chinese workers in Ethiopia

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Rebel group (ONLF) says it attacked Chinese oil field in Ethiopia]
[Ethiopian tanks pound Mogadishu] - [US accuses Eritrea of fueling deadly fighting in Somalia ] - [CPJ: In Somalia, shelling destroys broadcast stations, injures journalists] - [EHAHRD-Net: HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN SOMALIA DEPLORABLE]

[Seven die as world rejects ‘flawed’ election in Nigeria ] - [British anti-terror police arrest 6 people ] - [Hamas armed wing ends truce, govt urges calm ] - [Iran's Leader Proposes Talks With Bush ] and more of today's top stories!

(Insurgents prepare a mortar to launch against government and Ethiopian positions south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, Tuesday, April 24, 2007. AP Photo/Abdi Farah)



The Coalition for H.R. 5680

Commentary on Coalition for H.R. 5680 Press Release
International Ethiopian Women Organization (IEWO)
Radio Program


Gunmen kill 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese workers in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, April 24 (Reuters) - Gunmen killed 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese on Tuesday in an attack on an oil field run by a Chinese company, and Ethiopia's government blamed rebels backed by regional foe Eritrea.

Bereket Simon, special adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, blamed the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) which he said was fighting a proxy war on behalf of Asmara.

"The bandits entered the camp at around five a.m. and shot dead the 74 people while they were sleeping," he told Reuters.

Seven other Chinese workers and "scores" of Ethiopians were kidnapped by the gunmen from the site near Jijiga, 630 km (390 miles) east of the capital Addis Ababa, Bereket said. "The government has launched hot pursuit," he said.

In a statement, the ONLF said it attacked Ethiopian soldiers guarding an oil exploration field in Northern Ogaden region. "The oil facility has been completely destroyed," it said. "The ONLF has stated on numerous occasions that we will not allow the mineral resources of our people to be exploited by this regime or any firm."(More...)

Rebel group (ONLF) says it attacked Chinese oil field in Ethiopia

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said it had launched "military operations against units of the Ethiopian armed forces guarding an oil exploration site," in the east of the country.

-ONLF Statement

Ethiopian tanks pound Mogadishu

Ethiopian tanks are pounding parts of the Somali capital, stepping up a week-long campaign against insurgents and fighters of the Hawiye clan. Heavy shelling is also taking place near the presidential palace - guarded by Ethiopian and African Union troops.(More...)

Hospitals at capacity as fighting rages in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- There are no empty hospital beds in Somalia's bloodstained capital, and barely enough bandages to patch up the wounded. Even bottles of medicine are running dry.

But patients kept pouring in yesterday -- and they were the lucky ones, having survived another day of bullets and mortar shells as Islamic insurgents battled troops allied to the country's fragile acting government.

"Even the shades of the trees are occupied at this point," said Dahir Dhere, director of Medina Hospital, the largest health facility in Mogadishu. "We are overwhelmed."(More...)

Also See:
-ANALYSIS-Somalia burns - but does anyone care?
-Somali govt and insurgents battle for seventh day
-UN chief appeals for ceasefire in Somalia
-Suicide bomber targets Ethiopian troops in Somalia

US accuses Eritrea of fueling deadly fighting in Somalia

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States accused Eritrea Monday of providing funding, arms and training to insurgents battling Somali forces and allied Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu.

The State Department's top Africa official, Assistant Secretary of State Jendaye Frazer, also called for renewed ceasefire talks to end the deadliest fighting that Somalia has seen in years.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was due to discuss the situation Monday with her visiting Ethiopian counterpart, Seyoum Mesfin, officials said.

The fighting in Mogadishu pits heavily armed Ethiopian troops allied to the country's UN-recognized interim government against an Islamist militia known as al-Shabab and other insurgents supported by the city's dominant Hawiye clan.(More...)

CPJ: In Somalia, shelling destroys broadcast stations, injures journalists

New York, April 23, 2007—Two private broadcast stations were destroyed and several journalists were injured last week as Ethiopian troops backing Somalia’s transitional government attacked suspected strongholds of Islamist fighters and militiamen from the Hawiye clan, according to news reports and local journalists.

HornAfrik television and radio—the first independent broadcaster in Somalia’s history— has been off the air since several mortar shells destroyed its Mogadishu studios on Saturday, injuring cameraman Abdi Dhaqane and reporter Yahye Ali Farah, according to media reports and the National Union of Somali Journalists.

Dhaqane, who is also a Reuters stringer, was flown to neighboring Kenya for treatment after losing a finger and sustaining a thigh injury, Reuters Chief East Africa Correspondent Andrew Cawthorne told CPJ.(More...)


(The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network)
EHAHRD-Net Index: SOMA 010/005/2007
23rd April 2007

Death of innocent human rights defenders, bombardment of media houses, arrests of media workers, chaos and forced censorship among human rights defenders’ organisations; this according to the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net), is a brief description of the current situation is Somalia.

EHAHRD-Net wishes to bring to the attention of the UN Human Rights Council and the international community, the deplorable and gloomy human rights situation in Somalia , and calls for immediate intervention.

In the latest developments received so far, EHAHRD-Net has received information from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) to the effect that; Radio HornAfrik was hit by artilleries on April 21st, temporarily halting its operations.

Journalist Yahye Ali Farah and Cameraman Abdi Dhaqane sustained injuries in the attack and were admitted to Dayniile and Madina hospitals respectively. Earlier, on April 19th 2007, the Global Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) based in Mogadishu had experienced “indiscriminate bombardments”, a situation that led to the damaging of equipment in its TV studio and newsrooms. GBC later had to shut down following the attack.

The above is only a small fraction of the mayhem that has rocked Somalia ever since fighting broke out in the capital Mogadishu between the forces of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) backed by Ethiopia, and remnants of the Islamic Courts Union backed by Eritrean forces. Observers say the turmoil faced by Mogadishu in the last one month could be the worst Somalia has ever faced since the collapse of the State 15 years ago.

“The current operational environment of HRDs in Somalia is simply deplorable. The Network has recorded some deaths, while intimidation and closure of the media houses has, but become somewhat a daily occurrence.

This is a cause for worry, and we wish to call upon the warring forces to exercise restraint against inflicting further damage on the Somalis, and HRDs’ internationally recognised rights to operate. In trying to find a balance of the political situation in the country, all parties have to adhere to their international human rights obligations,” says Hassan Shire Sheikh, Chairperson EHAHRDP/Net.


Human rights violations in Somalia considerably escalated towards the end of 2006 when Ethiopian troops entered Somalia in a bid to drive out the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) who had previously overtaken the capital Mogadishu .

This was done to reinstall the weak but internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG). However, following the expulsion of the UIC militia from Mogadishu, an all-out war broke out that has so far claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, and caused over half a million others to flee the fighting and as a result becoming internally displaced or seeking refuge outside Somalia.

In this situation, journalists and other human rights defenders have not been spared. A prominent human rights defender, Isse Abdi Isse, formerly working with the Kisima Peace and Development Organisation, was murdered at his hotel in Mogadishu in March 2007; journalist Ali Mohammed Omar, working with Radio Warsan, was murdered in February 2007, while a number of media houses have either been closed or handed serious warnings by the Transitional Federal Government.


The Network appeals to the Transitional Federal Government, the Ethiopian Government, the Eritrean Government and the wider international community, to strictly observe human rights and humanitarian laws in order to save the people of Somalia from further suffering and demise.

The three nations should furthermore allow human rights defenders to pursue their work for the benefit of the civilian population, and adhere to the duties spelt out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Network members should add their voices to this call to remind the warring forces of their international obligations. Network members should also appeal to the UN Human Rights Council to use its mandate to ensure compliance of the countries in question.

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