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Mogadishu residents wake to camel bloodbath
|AU soldiers mistake camels for Somali rebel attack|
Suddenly, the voice of gun battles blares out, sending the terrified Somali family on the run.
“We are served with guns at iftar,” Nour told IslamOnline.net.
“Instead of going to houses and mosques for iftar, we are racing to the shelters.“We are celebrating Ramadan with gunshots instead of dates,” he said.
Many Muslims break their fast with dates, a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).Somali opposition has intensified attacks against government troops during the fasting month of Ramadan.Six people were killed Friday when a stray mortar smashed into a hospital compound in Mogadishu before the iftar."Mortar shells killed 15 disabled persons and seriously injured 19 others," Yasin Ali Sheikh, vice chairman of Elman peace and human rights group, told Reuters.The Shehbab group and Hezb al-Islam allied militia have rejected calls by Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed for a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan.The two groups launched a deadly offensive in May against the government troops in a bid to unseat it.The fighting has left hundreds of civilians dead, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.More than 200,000 people have also been displaced in the past two months.
The usual Ramadan joy drawn on the Muslim faces worldwide is almost absent on the Somali faces."Since the beginning of Ramadan, Somalis were not able to get a single safe iftar," a local journalist told IOL, wishing not to be named."They (militants) target residential areas around the market, leaving people in fear.”As if the militants were not enough for the helpless Somalis, the African peacekeepers are adding to the civilians’ suffering.“We are also the target of the cannons of the African troops,” Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, from the Haden district in southern Mogadishu, told..He said the peacekeepers argue that they shell the area from where the militants fire at the troops.The mandate of the African peacekeepers has recently been changed to allow the troops to fight alongside the government troops against the militants.But this never brought back the smile to the Somali faces.“Residents who are still staying in this area are tasting all forms of panic,” said Abdullah.“Instead of bringing joy to our hearts, the iftar time brings fear and sorrow.”