MOGADISHU, Somalia Mar 15 (Garowe Online) -
Business leaders in the Somali capital's main Bakara market held a closed-door meeting Saturday, where a proposal to establish a private army was discussed, sources said.
Reporters were prohibited from participating at the business association meeting, chaired by Banadir Business Association head Abdikarim Mohamud Gabeyre.
A business source who spoke with Garowe Online confidentially after the meeting said the discussions were "mostly hectic," but that the association members eventually tackled the issue of establishing a private army to patrol and protect Bakara market.
There was much disagreement regarding the issue of instituting a private army, the source added. One group of traders opposed the idea, arguing that Somali government security forces should be allowed to maintain security control in and around the market.
But the second group, who support the private army proposal, argued that government police would be targeted by the insurgents while a private army would not, according to our source.
Today's meeting ended without tangible results. Business association leaders said the media will be invited to follow-up meetings.
Two killed in violence
Government soldiers manning a checkpoint on a main road leading into Bakara market were firing bullets into the air throughout Saturday, witnesses said.
At least two civilians were killed by stray bullets, although witnesses could not confirm where the bullets came from.
A third civilian was wounded when soldiers opened fire on a truck as it passed by a major intersection.
Witnesses said that the group of soldiers near the intersection lost three men yesterday, when suspected insurgents hurled hand grenades at them. Four other soldiers were wounded in the deadly attack.
Somalia's Islamist-led insurgents have conducted near-daily guerrilla attacks on government security forces since early 2007, when the Ethiopian army overthrew Mogadishu's Islamic rulers.
Source: Garowe Online