Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ethiopia deadline to quit Somalia

Somalia's powerful Islamist group has given Ethiopian troops a week to leave the country or face a "major attack".

Ethiopia has denied having any troops fighting in Somalia but admits sending hundreds of military trainers to help government forces.

The Islamists and government forces, allegedly backed by Ethiopia engaged in fierce clashes on Friday and Saturday.

There are fears of a regional conflict breaking out in Somalia, which could include Ethiopian and Eritrean forces.

"Starting today, if the Ethiopians don't leave our land within seven days, we will attack them and force them to leave our country," said Islamist defence chief Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siad "Inda'ade".

He also urged the international community to put pressure on Ethiopia to withdraw its troops or they would "be responsible for whatever happens in Somalia".

A government spokesman dismissed the warning, and accused the Islamists of using Ethiopia as a scapegoat while flying in foreign fighters.
Peacekeeper doubts

A UN report last month accused both Ethiopia and Eritrea, among other countries, of breaking the arms embargo on Somalia.

source: BBC


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