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Tuesday, April 6, 1999 Published at 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK

World: Africa

Gunning for the money in Somalia

Tensions in Mogadishu are running high

Rival Somali militia groups are heading to an airport near Mogadishu, to await the arrival of a plane-load of newly-printed bank notes.

The money is reported to be the first installment of some $14m worth of Somali shillings, printed in Canada by a Malaysian firm, Adorna.

Somalia has no central government, and the notes are understood to have been ordered, and paid for, by local businessmen.

But one of the main faction leaders in the capital, Hussein Aideed, says the notes are being imported without his permission.

Both sides are reported to have sent armed militiamen and heavy weaponry to the Ballidogleh airport, 90km west of Mogadishu where the plane is expected to land.

Militia loyal to Hussein Aideed are said to be trying to prevent the money from getting through, while others intend to escort the notes to the capital.

Four different local currencies circulate in Somalia, introduced by different political and regional groups.

Some businessmen have been accused of ordering notes illegally for their own purposes.

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