SOMALIA: IRIN News Briefs [19990517]

SOMALIA: IRIN News Briefs [19990517]

SOMALIA: IRIN News Briefs, 17 May

Somali faction leaders meet in Addis Ababa

Some 10 Somali faction leaders, all considered opponents of Hussein Aideed, left Somalia over the weekend to attend a "peace conference" in Addis Ababa at the invitation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow, Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the leader of the autonomous 'Puntland' region in the northeast of Somalia and eight other factional representatives were due to meet in the Ethiopian capital on Monday to discuss peace prospects, according to media reports in Somalia. A coalition of many of the same faction leaders last week deplored Eritrea's alleged arming of Somali militias and called on the international community to tighten the arms embargo on the country.

A spokesman at the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi said the meeting was no surprise since "Ethiopia has been trying to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the Somali conflict" - both for its own security considerations and in order to develop regional cooperation and integration.

RRA denies mining residential areas of Baidoa

The Rahanwein Reistance Army (RRA) has admitted planting landmines on roads it claims are used by Hussein Aideed's fighters around the south-central town of Baidoa. However, RRA commander Mohamed Aden Qalinle, quoted by AFP on Monday, has denied Aideed's militia's claim that the RRA has mined residential areas. Baidoa has been a focus of heavy recent fighting as the RRA attempts to wrest control of the town from Aideed.

15 reported dead in Luuq clashes

Factional fighting claimed the lives of at least 15 people, including three civilians, in the border region of Gedo last week, according to DPA news agency. It cited eyewitness reports of an attack on the town of Luuq by more than 100 armed militiamen supporting the Somali National Front (SNF) against a rival faction headed by Sheikh Mohamed Ali Buraleh.

Media sources have reported that Buraleh's faction has the backing of Ethiopia, which borders the Gedo region. The Somali faction of Hussein Aideed has claimed that Ethiopia is continually arming "unpatriotic" Somali groups and occupying Somali towns and villages. AFP on Monday quoted Aideed's adviser, Issa Mohamed Siad, as saying that his faction needed weapons imported at Merka "to counter Ethiopian aggression".


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Item: irin-english-834

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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