`Unrest in Somali capital the work of ousted Islamic movement`

The spate of deadly violence in Somalia`s capital in recent days is the work of an Islamic movement that was driven from Mogadishu and much of the country`s south last month, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

Mogadishu(Somalia), Jan 27: The spate of deadly
violence in Somalia`s capital in recent days is the work of an
Islamic movement that was driven from Mogadishu and much of
the country`s south last month, a government spokesman said
on Saturday.

"They want to destabilize the country to show that there
is no peace in Somalia," Abdirahman Dinari said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks and
Dinari did not offer evidence to prove the council of Islamic
courts was behind the violence. But the radical group has
vowed to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war.

The Somali government has been putting more troops on the
streets this week as Ethiopian troops, whose military strength
was crucial to helping drive out the Islamic militia, begin
pulling out of the country.

The withdrawal of Ethiopia, which says it cannot afford
to stay in Somalia, raises a sense of urgency for the arrival
of a proposed African peacekeeping force. The African Union
has approved a plan to send about 8,000 peacekeepers for a
six-month mission that would eventually be taken over by the
UN.

South Africa dashed hopes yesterday that it would
contribute to a peacekeeping force in Somalia, with Defence
Minister Mosiuoa Lekota saying the country`s forces already
were overstretched. Nigeria, Malawi and Uganda have said they
want to contribute troops, but no firm plans are in place.

Meanwhile, the capital and other parts of the country
are being wracked by violence. Gunmen launched mortars on an
Ethiopian base on the outskirts of Mogadishu late yesterday,
prompting a brief firefight.

Bureau Report

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