Somali militia leaders reject troops

Influential militia leaders in Somalia have rejected the possible deployment of troops from Ethiopia and Djibouti.

    Since 1991 the country has been run by regional leaders

    The proposed deployment offer on Sunday was part of a regional mission to help the country's transitional government set foothold after relocating from exile in Kenya. 

    "We endorse the deployment of troops from the international community without the involvement of contingents from Somalia's immediate neighbours," Ethiopia and Djibouti, they said in a statement released on Sunday in Nairobi after overnight talks. 

    The press release was signed by militia leaders Husain Muhammad Aidid, also deputy prime minister, Muhammad Qanyara Afrah, minister of national security, Musa Sudi Yalahu, minister of trade, Butan Isa, minister for demobilisation and Umar Mahmud, minister for religious affairs. 

    The militia leaders from the dominant Hawiya clan who control the capital Mogadishu, said they planned to visit the bullet-scarred city to flush out armed men roaming there who have vowed to oppose the deployment of foreign troops. 

    Parts to be surrendered

    The militia leaders said they agreed to surrender parts they controlled in Mogadishu to the transitional government, which is still holed up in Kenya owing to insecurity in Somalia. 

    "We endorse the deployment of troops from the international
    community without the involvement of contingents from Somalia's immediate neighbours"

    Militia leaders' statement

    Early this month, African Union authorised the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which groups Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, to deploy an interim peace mission in Somalia before a proper AU force. 

    Some Somalis have accepted the deployment of regional troops but not inclusion of soldiers from Ethiopia, which they accuse of backing various factions and Djibouti of supporting the predecessor to President Abd Allah Yusuf Ahmad's government. 

    Kenya, which is home to thousands of Somali refugees, is accused of having dubious political interests in Somalia, but Nairobi has said it would only send military observers. Ethiopia and Uganda have offered to send troops, with other IGAD nations yet to decide. 

    But some Somali clans and Islamic court leaders have vowed to resist the deployment of foreign troops in the shattered African nation which has been without a functioning government since the fall of Muhammad Siad Barri in 1991. 



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