Battle of Mogadishu (November 2007)

The November 2007 Battle of Mogadishu began when dragging of mutilated bodies of Ethiopian soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu provoked a fierce and furious reaction. 91 people died in the fighting, mostly civilians killed by Ethiopian troops.

The scenes of dragged mutilated corpses is reminiscent of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, when it was done to a US soldier. The same thing occurred in early 2007 during the month long battle in Mogadishu.


On November 8, heavy fighting between Ethiopian forces and armed men erupted on Thursday, resulting in the death of several people, including Ethiopian soldiers. The body of an Ethiopian soldier was dragged on the streets by civilians. This sparked reprisal attacks the following day.

On November 9, Ethiopian soldiers were firing cannon shells into an area of the south of the city where insurgent militia men were thought to be based. Most of the 40 dead were civilians, killed by shells fired into markets and residential areas.

On November 10, More than twenty additional corpses were found in some parts of Mogadishu. Most of these corpses were combinations of women and elderly people killed by the Ethiopian troops.

On November 11, two TFG soldiers were killed in an ambush while patrolling the vegetable market in Bakara district in Mogadishu. The attack sparked a gun battle between insurgents and some government forces arrived at the scene to rescue their comrades.

The next few days there was a lull in the fighting but on November 16, the chief of TFG intelligence was killed and the next day insurgents attacked Ugandan troops in the K-4 neighbourhood. One insurgent was confirmed to be killed in the fighting with Ugandan soldiers. One TFG policeman and a civilian were also killed in an IED attack on the same day.

Violations of the laws of war

Ethiopian troops and insurgents violated the laws of war in killing and wounding dozens of civilians in the clashes in Mogadishu, according to Human Rights Watch. It appealed to the international community to condemn these attacks and hold combatants accountable for violations of humanitarian law, specifically mutilating captured combatants and executing detainees.

Other rights groups criticised the Ethiopians too for failing to distinguish between civilian and insurgent targets, but residents say it is difficult to tell who is who in a city where most men have firearms. Civilians including pregnant women and children were among the dead. According to local sources, most of the people were sniped by the Ethiopians fighting against the Islamists.

UNICEF have voiced their concern at the increasing number of rape cases in the country's war-torn capital Mogadishu. The representative for Somalia, Christian Balslev-Olesen has said that, "Sexual violence and rape are part of the game now". He also said that rapes were mainly committed by government militias and their Ethiopian allies. Ethiopian troops have been accused of numerous rapes of civilians in Somalia, which is a violation of human rights

According to the UN, the battle displaced about 200,000 people in two weeks , with 600,000 or about 60% of Mogadishu's population fleeing overall since February. Somali rights group Elmand claims to have verified almost 6,000 civilian deaths in Mogadishu alone, with 700,000 thousand fleeing. .


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