Somali protesters reject foreign troops

At least 3000 Somalis have taken to the streets of Mogadishu to protest against the planned deployment of troops from other African nations to help Somalia regain a government.

    Some militia leaders are also rejecting foreign troops

    One group of demonstrators in southern Mogadishu on Sunday marched to oppose any deployment of foreign troops whatsoever, while another group in the northern part of the bullet-scarred capital protested against the inclusion of forces from neighbouring states in the peace mission.
      
    The pan-continental African Union (AU) in February asked the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which brings together Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, to deploy an interim peace mission in Somalia in advance of a proper AU force.
      
    The interim mission is intended to allow a Somali government, which has been formed in exile in neighbouring Kenya with Abd Allah Yusuf Ahmad as its president, to move to the capital Mogadishu.
      
    Some influential militia leaders have also refused the inclusion of forces from Ethiopia, which they accuse of backing various factions, or Djibouti, on the grounds that it supported the predecessor to Yusuf's government.
      
    "No foreign troops are required in Somalia. We can resolve our problems without a single peacekeeper from Africa or Asia," said Bashir Raghi, a commander who controls parts of northern Mogadishu, where anti-foreign-troops demonstrators took to the streets.
      
    Somalia has been wracked by chronic conflict since strongman Muhammad Said Barri was toppled in 1991. Journalists counted around 3000 people in all at the two demonstrations, but organisers put the number at 10,000.

    SOURCE: AFP


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