On January 9th, in the latest development in the U.S. global War on Terror, air strikes undertaken by U.S. military aircraft hit
presumed al-Qaeda terrorist hide-outs in southern Somalia, though subsequent statements from the Pentagon have revealed that the only casualties were civilians. The last time the U.S. military directly intervened in Somalia was in 1993, when eighteen soldiers were killed and their bodies dragged through Somalias capital city of Mogadishu.
This escalation of overt U.S. involvement in Somalia comes a week after Ethiopian and Somali transitional government troops with American backing regained control of most of Somalia, having lost it several months ago to a coalition of Islamist fighters.
Locals fear that a guerilla insurgency similar to that taking place in Iraq may ensue. Ethiopia’s government hopes to replace its troops with an international peacekeeping force as soon as possible to maintain security in the volatile country. Giorgio Bertin, the Bishop of Djibouti, expressed concern that if Ethiopia withdraws its troops, the current weak transitional government of Somalia will collapse. If the international community does not intervene, there is a real risk that Somalia could go back to the worst violence and clan warfare of 1991, said Bishop Bertin.
AFJN maintains its concern and shares its prayers for the people of Somalia, who have suffered through decades of chronic insecurity. Members of the Africa Faith and Justice Network should urge their policymakers to ensure that a viable political solution to this crisis is immediately sought to avoid prolonging violence against Somali people.