Casualties grow as fighting in Somalia intensifies

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Beginning in late March, the Somalia government, with the support of Ethiopian allies, has been pitted in an internal war that echoes the situation the United States is facing in Iraq. The Council of Islamic Courts in Somalia was taken out of power in December after being accused of supporting terrorism. Their resistance is currently causing the worst damage the country has seen in 15 years.

Estimated casualties include 1,086 civilian deaths, while 4,344 have been wounded. Since the fighting began, nearly 124,000 people have fled the capital Mogadishu. A leading official in the Islamic courts, Sheik Sharif Ahmed, attempted to stir national pride by calling on Somalians to reject the Ethiopian forces in the country who are using their "souls and money."

For the first time in a decade, U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer visited the country and stated that the extremists are, "getting their support from the global jihadist network." Since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, the country has been in constant turmoil and the government established in 2004 has been unable to obtain control.