, MOGADISHU, Aug 24 – An attack by the Al Qaeda-inspired Shebab on Tuesday which killed 30 people, including six lawmakers, marked a new escalation on the second day of clashes that already left 29 civilians dead across the war-ravaged Somali capital.
Here is a timeline of events since 2006 when Islamists took power in the country.
– June-July: The Islamic Courts Union takes over the capital Mogadishu after heavy fighting with US-backed warlords.
– Jan 1: Troops from neighbouring Ethiopia intervene against the Islamic Courts and in support of the weak central government.
Islamic Courts leaders flee but the movement\’s youth military wing, the Shebab, stay to fight and chaos returns to the capital Mogadishu.
– March 6: The first units of an African Union force begin arriving in Mogadishu, amid heavy fighting.
– Oct 26: Government and moderate Islamists reach an agreement on a ceasefire and the progressive withdrawal of Ethiopian forces. The accord is rejected by hardline Islamists, but nevertheless gradually implemented.
– Jan: The last Ethiopian troops pull out of the shattered country. A moderate Islamist, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, is elected Somalia\’s new president by parliament.
– April 18: Parliament endorses a plan to introduce Sharia, a key demand of hardline Islamists.
– May 7: The beginning of a major offensive by the insurgents, aimed at overthrowing the president.
– Sept 17: A double suicide attack on the African Union force in Mogadishu, claimed by the Shebab, kills 21, including 17 African soldiers.
– Jan: More than 250 civilians are killed in January in fighting between government forces and Islamists in the centre of the country.
– July 12: The Shebab claim responsbility for bombings in the Ugandan capital Kampala that killed 76 people, after the movement warned that Uganda would face retaliation for contributing to the African Union force.
– July 25-27: African countries pledge 4,000 extra troops to the African Union\’s force, which previously had some 6,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi.
– Aug 24: Two extremist insurgents disguised as government soldiers go on a shooting rampage in a Mogadishu hotel, killing 30 people, including six lawmakers, before blowing themselves up.