Security Update and Advisories

his report covers the period 25 February - 3 March. For other security reports, please refer to previous weekly updates covering the month of February.

Given developments in the Guelleh Peace Process in Djibouti, tension is running high in Somalia due to unresolved issues concerning credentials and constituency representation at the peace and reconciliation table.
South Zone

[LATE) On 24 February, a CARE national staff member was shot in Gabaharey. The circumstances are not clear, but the worker was involved in food distribution in the Gabaharey/Bur Dhubo area. The staff member will apparently recover from his wounds.

Ethiopian commanders have assured the ZSO South of their security support in UN operations in the El Berde area.

Clan tensions remain high in the area between Bu'uale and Hagar/Afmadu. The level of fighting has fallen off, but some there is occasional skirmishing. Bu'uale and the surrounding area are off limits to UN staff.
Kismayo Special Zone

Kismayo is quiet for the moment. Bill Condie, the DCSA is in Kismayo with Mr. Roger Carter of UNICEF. An assessment will be forthcoming.
Central Zone

On 28 February, there was patrol skirmishing between the Sharia and RRA militias in the vicinity of Kurtunwarey in the Lower Shabelle Region. The number of casualties is unknown. Kurtunwarey is off limits to UN staff.

Heavy fighting was reported in the Mahaday District in the Middle Shabelle on 29 February. This clash was between the Abgaal/Agonieh Elle and the Abgaal/Agonieh/Abdullah sub sub clans. Twenty-five were killed and forty wounded in this incident, and the Elle were driven from Mahaday. As a consequence, Jowhar was flooded with wounded persons and IDPs. The Imam of the Abgaal called on Ali Mahdi Mohamed, Musa Sudi and Hussein Bod for a "peace making force". A combined militia force was in fact provided, and arrived in Mahaday at noon on 1 March. Fighting died down, but the Elle are reportedly planning a counterattack. UN staff are advised to remain clear of the Mahaday area.

Skirmishing between the Abgaal Rer Matan and the Abgaal Daud occurred on 28 March. Nothing is known about casualties resulting from this clash. Balad is off limits to UN staff.

On 1 March at 1930 hours, a grenade was thrown over the WHO compound wall in Merka, and exploded near the entrance of the guest house. No one was injured, although some damage was sustained. On the same day, a note was received by the ZSO from the Biyamaal Resistance Movement. This communication indicated that Merka and K-50 airfields are now to be considered "battle zones", and that all international assistance aircraft should avoid them or risk being shot down. [NOTE: The Biyamaal Resistance Movement is apparently allied to the RRA]. As a result of these two events, the UN Designated Official a.i. took the decision to relocate all UN international staff in Merka (less the ZSO). He has directed that UN operation there including aircraft transit and refuel efforts be terminated until further notice. Mr. Bijay Shah, the ZSO who remains in Merka, has been given the option of relocating national staff from the town if required.

On 28 February, militia elements led by a discharged guard assaulted the INTERSOS Hospital in Mogadishu. [NOTE: This is the last remaining Mother/Child Hospital (MCH) in the city.] Four persons were wounded, and one was killed in the clash. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the hospital was looted. Apparently, there were no casualties among the international staff of INTERSOS, but there is no clarification on national staff casualties.
Northeast Zone

The ZSO, NEZ arrived on 27 February (Mr. Malu Malu Louison of UNHCR).

At 0830 on 29 February, elements of the Bah Garen sub sub clan of the Osman Mahamoud Clan of the Marehan Clan took control of the government house in Bossaso. The issue had to do with perceived ownership and representation at the Djibouti Peace Conference. They were assaulted in the house by Bossaso police, and a two hour firefight ensued. Casualty figures are unknown. In the midst of this firefight, two WHO international staff had to be relocated from their residence/office located across the street from the government house. This was accomplished by the Focal Point Officer a.i., Mr. Eddie Johns, and the ZSO, Mr. Malu Malu Louison. As of 1600 3 March, WHO was able to safely reoccupy their premises.
Northwest Zone

There were no new developments to report during the reporting period. (UNCT Somalia Monitor - 1-29 February 2000).