Somali government in control of Mogadishu as looting is underway

Aweys Osman Yusuf

Mogadishu 27, April.07 ( Sh.M.Network): The situation in the volatile city, Mogadishu, is calm on Friday as Somali government and Ethiopian troops are in control of the areas where the fighting took place in the past eight days.

An Islamist fighter firing bullets on Ethiopian soldiers as he dug in, north of the capital. Top Somali's government official declared the mission was accomplished as Ethiopian forces take over strategic insurgent strongholds.

Government and allied Ethiopian soldiers could be visible in all Islamic insurgent strongholds today although residents in the capital have still been fleeing. All main roads in the capital were blocked by government soldiers. The only transports passing by the roads were military trucks and tanks, while Mogadishu did sound like a battle ground.

Meanwhile looters ransacked Coca-Cola factory in north of the capital. Bashir Mohammed Arale, the manager of Coca-Cola firm told Shabelle by phone that his company was being looted. "A large number of people is plundering Coca-cola company at this moment I am talking and I have called the government offices to send troops to the place and I do no not know until now who is behind this," he said.

The Soda Company was the only firm that produces Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite in the impoverished country.

The sounds of gun fire and artillery explosions could no longer be heard, but many Somalis doubt if the transitional government backed by the Ethiopian troops would be able to be in a grip control of the situation. Insurgents and the government soldiers exchanged 20 minutes of gunfire around Taleh neighborhood and Kilometer intersection, near Mogadishu airstrip last night.

Experts say that many Islamic fighters are on plans of hiding their weapons and are believed to be regrouping elsewhere for future fighting with the interim government.

In a news conference in the capital yesterday, Prime Minister, Ali Mohammed Gedi, claimed victory over the insurgents, telling local journalists that fighting was finalized. "The government and Ethiopian troops are in control of all places where the fighting was going on," he said.

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, expressed great concerns at the worsening situation in Mogadishu. The UN chief shows doubts about the Somalia government's capability to maintain stability and order in the war-torn country. Speaking with reporters, he said he held talks with some Arab leaders on the tense situation in Somalia during his trip to the Middle East.

"I am gravely concerned about the on-going violence in Somalia and I have discussed with all parties concerned, while traveling with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and other leaders," said Ban Ki-moon. "I am also very much troubled by the fact that the Transitional Federal Government is not able to sustain the momentum thus created politically."

The UN has called Somalia as the most perilous place in the world for aid workers to operate.

The Horn of African country has been without an affective central authority since the ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991.