|Africa News Digest
Killing of Somali Clan Elder Undercuts Reconciliation Efforts
Aug. 20 (EIRNS)For the first time in living memory, a clan elder in Somalia has been killed. The assassination of Maalim Harun Maalim Yusef on Aug. 19 has undercut efforts in Mogadishu to bring about a reconciliation among warring factions. "The killing of this elder is going to create fear amongst the delegates. It will definitely damage the talks," a peace activist, who said he was too frightened to give his name, told Reuters. "We don't know why they killed him," said his widow. "He was a delegate to the peace talks." Residents say that elders have been too revered to be targets. "This is really the first time an important elder like him has been killed," said Abdirahman Ahmed, another delegate at the talks. "This is a big blow to peace."
Yusuf belonged to the same sub-clan as Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi. He was chief negotiator of a sub-clan of the Abgal clan at the reconciliation conference. Delegates say he played a key role.
Fighting broke out in the nearby Horuwa district of Mogadishu hours after Yusuf was killed. Mortars were fired at police who took up positions around a children's hospital.
On Aug. 20, the day after Yusef's assassination, a landmine wounded four civilians close to the site of the peace meeting, as the chaos in the country and its capital increasingly mimics that in Iraq and Baghdad.