Somali tells of month-long massacre

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The Independent Online
LONDON (AP) - Amnesty International called yesterday for international action to help find a way of ending human rights abuses in Somalia.

'It is Somali political organisations and their leaders who have prime responsibility to end this cycle of abuse,' said an Amnesty report, which added that the problem has been met with 'a mixture of despair and neglect by the outside world'.

'Amnesty International is . . . appealing to the international community to help in the search for effective solutions to Somalia's human rights crisis, in order to help bring an end to the horrendous pattern of gross human rights abuses which not only continues but threatens to persist for months or years in a cycle of revenge killings.'

The report included the account of one man who told of mass tortures and executions by the forces of General Mohamed Farah Aidid in the border town of Bulohawo at the end of April. It quoted the unidentified man as saying:

'Many people had fled from Bulohawo before Aidid's forces came. Those remaining there were mostly old men, women and children, those who were not strong enough to attempt to run away. They gathered people in the town centre, going round all the houses, and separated people by clan, marking out the Darods - Majaren, Marehan and Ogadenis. Their own people - Hawiyes - they left alone.

'Darod men and children they killed, Darod women they raped and often killed too. Those that tried to escape or looked as if they might escape were shot. The weaker ones were bayoneted. The bodies were burnt with kerosene and firewood and the bones left lying there . . .

'The killings went on for all the time Aidid held the town - a month and three days. The worst killings were in the first few days, when people were killed in groups of 30 or 40.'

The report said all the details of the statement could not be confirmed, but it was 'broadly consistent with other reports of abuses by Gen Aidid's forces which Amnesty International has received'.

The report said that the opposition forces of the Somali National Front had earlier killed civilians arbitrarily, burnt homes, and killed or stolen livestock in an offensive against Gen Aidid's forces near Mogadishu.

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