UN troops poised to capture warlord: US-led peace-keeping forces in Somalia locate Aideed and loyal supporters in Mogadishu 'safe house'

MOGADISHU - United Nations forces were preparing yesterday to seize the fugitive Somali warlord, General Mohamed Farah Aideed from a hideout in Mogadishu, UN military sources said.

Twenty-fours hours after UN troops stormed and destroyed his military stronghold, Gen Aideed was reported to be hiding with a group of his most loyal followers in a 'safe house' in the bombed-out capital. UN military sources, who declined to be indentified, said they would move in and arrest him before long 'in a way that will minimise civilian casualties'.

Meanwhile, a veteran soundman for French television, Jean-Claude Jumel, 50, was shot dead in Mogadishu yesterday and a Somali employee of another French station was killed the previous day, their employers said.

The UN special envoy to Somalia Jonathan Howe declined to say how long he believed it would take before Gen Aideed was in custody, saying he did not want the arrest to derail other UN activities in the city.

'We did not want to confuse the effort to arrest Aideed with the military operation. First of all we want him to come forward peacefully,' Mr Howe said. 'He has never beeen a target of the military operation.'

Mr Howe said Thursday's operation to break Gen Aideed's military power, which began with an aerial bombardment of his weapons' stores, was 'totally successful'.

UN military officials said they were unable to give details of civilian casualties. Hospitals say more than 60 Somali civilians were killed and more than 100 injured in the battle to neutralise Gen Aideed.

Mr Howe said he had told Lieutentant General Cevik Bir, the Turkish commander of UN forces in Mogadishu, that it 'was important to detain Aideed for public safety'. He said an investigation into the deaths of 23 Pakistani peace-keepers on 5 June was still continuing but 'that and subsequent events' had already unearthed enough evidence to point the finger at Gen Aideed.

He said that Gen Aideed would receive 'a fair and impartial trial', but that the details of how this would take place remained to be decided.

Mogadishu's streets were calm yesterday, lashed for much of the day by torrential rain. Few UN troops were visible and, for the first time in several days, there were no reports of sniper fire in the city.

A UN military official said five UN soldiers - four Moroccans and one Pakistani - died in Thursday's fighting, which erupted after UN forces sealed off Gen Aideed's stronghold.

In New York, the UN Security Council yesterday deplored deaths of civilians in Somalia, which it said were perpetrated by factions attacking UN peace- keepers. In a statement, the Council condemned the practice of some Somali factions 'using women and children as human shields to perpetrate their attacks'.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory