Somali alliance opposes Ethiopia
Somali Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aideed has formed an alliance opposed to Ethiopia's presence in Mogadishu.
Mr Aideed announced the move in the Eritrean capital and called for a probe into Ethiopia troops whom he accuses of genocide since arriving in December.
Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and former parliament speaker Sharif Sheikh Aden were also in Asmara at the launch.
Some 1,000 people have died during recent fighting in Mogadishu described as the worst in 16 years.
Ethiopia and America accuse Eritrea of supporting insurgents in the capital, Mogadishu, who are opposed to the transitional government.
"We also want the transitional government to be held accountable for the deaths of innocent civilians in Mogadishu," Mr Aideed told reporters in Asmara.
The UN refugee agency says some 200,000 people have fled Mogadishu as government and Ethiopian soldiers battle insurgents - both Islamists and local Hawiye clan militias.
Mr Aideed, a former warlord and an influential member of the Hawiye clan has called on Ethiopian forces to leave Somalia signalling sharp divisions in the transitional government.
On Tuesday, a meeting of the Somali parliament in Baidoa voted to expel 31 MPs currently in Asmara.
Ethiopia says it has started to withdraw some of its troops from Somalia and will gradually hand over responsibilities to the African Union force.
So far only 1,200 Ugandans have arrived, of the planned 8,000 strong force.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war several years ago and tensions remain fraught between them.
Ethiopian military truck explodes in Somali capital
Salad Duhul, Canadian Press
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2007
MOGADISHU, Somalia - An Ethiopian military truck exploded on Thursday on the outskirts of the Somali capital, possibly killing the soldiers on board, said a witness, who did not know what caused the explosion.
The explosion comes after two days of on-off street battles between Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's fragile government and insurgents that saw both sides use tank shells, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Some residents characterized the fighting as the most intense in many years. At least 14 people were killed in the fighting and dozens injured.
The truck was one of two carrying Ethiopian soldiers travelling on the main road to key southern Somalia towns. The explosion took place about 20 kilometres south of Mogadishu.
Yusuf Osman, who runs a small pharmacy on that road, said on the phone that he saw the trucks leaving and "within minutes we heard a blast and saw one of the cars burning ... I think all the soldiers were killed as the whole car was on fire."
Ali Hussein Mohamed, a street vendor, told The Associated Press on the phone that he saw 10 injured Ethiopian soldiers lying on the ground.
Osman said that Ethiopian soldiers in the second truck opened fire on a nearby minibus. He saw two injured people, but he did not know if anyone was killed.
Policemen from a nearby station then cordoned off the area, said Osman.
Neither government nor police officials were immediately available for comment.
Somali troops backed by Ethiopian forces ousted the country's Islamic movement in December from Mogadishu and other strongholds. Remnants of the Islamic group have vowed to wage an Iraq-style insurgency and the capital has seen of waves of violence. The most deadly began in late March and saw hundreds of people killed, most of them civilians.
Diplomats have said, though, that also involved in the violence are clan militias that are not necessarily linked to the Islamic insurgents. Clan elders and Ethiopian military officials have negotiated truces in the past but these have not held for long.
Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on one another, throwing the country into anarchy.
A transitional government was formed in 2004 with UN help, but has struggled to maintain control over the country.
Lonely battle to free relative held in Ethiopia
Said Maktal of Hamilton has waged an exhausting and often lonely battle for information about his cousin who disappeared in Africa more than three months ago.
He has hired lawyers, petitioned politicians and spent countless hours glued to his computer hunting for clues. The father of two has sacrificed work, sleep and time with his infant daughter and newborn son.
He says he has no choice. His cousin's life is on the line and family members around the world expect that as a Canadian, Maktal can save him.
Gebrselassie must rise to challenge of the road
Haile Gebrselassie has thus far failed to transfer his track dominance to marathon running, but that could change on Sunday, writes Michael Phillips.
April 19, 2007 12:30 AM
When the camera zoomed in on Haile Gebrselassie at the start of a track race, he would chuckle before destroying the field. On the road it is different. No longer is there fear surrounding the smiling assassin. This Sunday Gebrselassie, the greatest distance runner of his generation, competes in the London Marathon for the third time. He is one of the favourites, but he has yet to triumph in a race which looked made for him.
Read more from The Guardian Sport Blogs Page
Users from the United States and Canada can view the Flora London Marathon LIVE online on Sunday April 22nd.
Click here to watch Live on Sunday April 22
(Don’t forget that if you live in the UK you can watch it all live on the BBC!)
File Photo: BBC Haile Gebrselassie 2006 London Marathon
Leave Somalia or face all-out war, Ethiopia told
Asmara, Eritrea - Ethiopia must withdraw its troops from Somalia immediately or face an all-out war that "no army" could resist, three senior Somali leaders warned on Wednesday.
The three, including top Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hussein Aidid, who holds a post in Somalia's government, were meeting in the Eritrean capital for talks.
Aidid said Somalis will unite against the "brutal occupation" of Ethiopian forces, who earlier this year helped the government's armed forces wrest control of much of Somalia from an Islamist movement.
"Up until now we [have used] dialogue to remove them but if they refuse to cooperate ... we will set everything aside to remove the Ethiopians ourselves," Aidid told reporters.
Sporadic fighting has continued between Ethiopian troops and insurgents in Mogadishu since government troops returned to the capital.
The three leaders, who shared a stage under a Somali map emblazoned with a dove and the logo "Somalia for Somalis", warned that the situation in the war-torn nation would deteriorate if Ethiopia failed to withdraw.
"Less than 10% of our forces are on the ground against the Ethiopians. No army, I can tell you that, can stop what is coming up," Aidid said.
Aidid, who holds the post of deputy prime minister and housing minister and is a member of the Hawiye clan that holds sway in the capital, Mogadishu, said the three leaders only wanted to work for peace in Somalia.
"The aim is to create dialogue among our people after 16 years of civil war to act as a platform for reconciliation," he said.
Despite his government posts, Aidid has openly opposed the presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia.
The third leader, Sheikh Sharif Hassan Aden, was ousted from his post as Parliament speaker in January. He was accused of being too close to the Islamists.
Eritrea, which has been accused of backing the Islamists, has called for Ethiopia to withdraw its troops. Asmara rejects the accusations.
Analysts have expressed fears that Ethiopia and Eritrea, still at odds over their unresolved 1998 to 2000 border conflict, may fight a proxy war in Somalia.
Somalia has lacked an effective central government since the ousting of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 touched off a bloody power struggle that exploded into inter-clan warfare.
More than 14 attempts to restore a functional government in Somalia have since failed. -- AFP
Source: Mail and Guardian
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