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From Farai

Stoning Death In Somalia

Tomorrow, we're going to look at Somalia on Africa Update ...

The nation is dealing with pirates (yes, pirates, who just hijacked a tanker full of $100 million in crude oil), possible links to al Qaeda, and the aftermath of a horrific stoning death.

As an article in the Sunday Herald summed things up:

ASHA had been raped by three men. The 13-year-old girl from the Somali port city of Kismayo was taken to the police station by her aunt to report the crime. Asha was the one who was arrested. After being held for three days and tried in secret by an Islamic court, Asha was sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery.

Kismayo's rulers encouraged people to come to the football stadium to watch the execution. A lorry load of stones was laid out. Asha, dragged kicking and screaming into the stadium, was buried in the ground. With around 1000 people watching, 50 men stepped forward and started hurling the stones at Asha's head. After a few moments, the stoning was stopped.

Two nurses were asked to step forward and check if she was still alive. She was, they said, so the stoning continued. Somalia has witnessed some brutal scenes in recent years. Ethiopian forces have been accused of assassinating civilians, firing indiscriminately at market crowds, and bombing residential areas. Somali government forces have deliberately killed journalists and human rights workers. All of the armed groups in Somalia have blood on their hands. But Asha's killing has served to highlight the growing power of a hardline Islamist group which analysts believe has links - or wants to have links - with al Qaeda.

The infamous "Black Hawk Down" incident happened in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993. (Here's a link to multimedia packages including the original, incredible, Philadelphia Inquirer series on the story.)

With that kind of history and rancor, will the U.S. be able to intervene successfully in Somalia even if it wants to? And with this economy, plus the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will Somalia even rank on the list of U.S. priorities?

We'll take a look tomorrow at Somalia from a foreign policy perspective ... and a human rights one as well.

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