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Somalia Warns Uganda On Troops
Kampala, September 07, 2006 – THE chairman of the Executive Council of the Union of Islamic Courts, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has warned Uganda not to send troops to Somalia.
Sheikh Ahmed, who heads the Islamic Courts group, was addressing thousands of demonstrators in the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday.
The demonstrators were protesting plans to send foreign troops to Somalia.
Sheikh Ahmed has consistently said he will oppose and fight any foreign troops sent to Somalia.
During Tuesday's demonstration, a senior Islamic Courts official, Ahmed Qare, told the private radio station, Radio HornAfrik that, "This...demonstration is aimed at opposing the Ethiopian troops, not all Igad members, but only the three countries. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are the ones surreptitiously seeking ways to destabilize again Somalia's peace efforts."
The minister for Defense, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, met the NRM parliamentary caucus on August 28 to present proposals for the troop deployment, which the caucus later approved.
However, Ethiopian state television ETV on August 29 quoted Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as saying that it is "unnecessary to deploy an armed force in Somalia at the moment."
Uganda plans to send 3,500 soldiers as part of a regional peacekeeping force intended to bring stability to the Horn of Africa nation.
The peacekeeping force is to be deployed under the mandate of the Inter-governmental Authority on development (Igad).
Somalia, torn by civil war, has been without a government since 1991 when armed groups overthrew the government of the veteran head of state, General Mohammed Siyad Barre.
The United States sent troops to Somalia in 1992 to maintain peace but in 1993, Somali gunmen killed 18 US Army Rangers, forcing the new Clinton administration to pull the troops out of the Horn of Africa nation.
In a report on September 1, the Islamic Courts website, Qaadisiya.com, said the Prime minister of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Prof. Ali Muhammad Gedi, and some Ugandan security officials, who arrived in south-central Somalia recently, visited the Deynuunay military base, outside the town of Baidoa on August 31.
Source: The Monitor