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Somalia – Will 2009 Bring More Violence or Peace?

ICC Note

In 2008, Islamists killed Christian converts from Islam and destroyed churches. This year, the influence of the Islamists is growing. This means Christians face more persecution in that country. Please pray for peace for Somalia and freedom of religion for the Christians in the country. Also pray that more people will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in Somalia .

By Joe de capua / Alisha Ryu

12/31/2008 Somalia (VOA News)-In 2008, Somalia became the scene of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and observers say it’s unclear what 2009 will bring to the country. VOA correspondent Alisha Ryu is closely following developments there. From Nairobi , she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.

“It was a very, very turbulent year for Somalia in every respect. There was a lot of hope in the beginning that Somalia might try to become a lot more stable this year (2008). There was a great deal of effort on (the part of) the United Nations and the international community to try to kick start peace talks between the moderate faction of the Islamist group and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The (peace) process known as the Djibouti Agreement was finally inked in June. It was hoped that that would be able to solve the insurgency problem that has been raging in Somalia for the past two years. Unfortunately, it did not. It created a lot more problems than it intended because the Islamist movement itself began fracturing. The Transitional Federal Government itself was in complete disarray because of infighting between the president and prime minister. The president, Abdullahi Yusuf, has just resigned as a result of all the problems that had occurred within the TFG, which made it very ineffectual,” she says.

Looking ahead to 2009, Ryu says, “A lot more uncertainty in Somalia because right now the situation is very fluid in terms of what’s going to happen with the Islamist opposition. They’re already starting to fight amongst themselves for this power vacuum that is supposed to be arising from the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops out of Somalia . And if they leave, will the Islamists themselves – hardliners in the Islamist movement and somewhat of the moderates – will they start slugging it out amongst themselves? And then what happens to the Transitional Federal Government? The president is no longer there. The speaker of parliament is going to be taking over for a while, but then they need to establish a new president so that they can have a functioning government of some kind that can negotiate with the moderate Islamists and perhaps create a new unity government. But none of that is certain. Somalia is one big question mark.”

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