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Somalia's PM Ali Khalif Galaydh
"The Ethiopians are ruthless in suppressing any protests in Somalia"
 real 28k

Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 12:12 GMT
'No Ethiopian troops' in Somalia
Map showing Somalia and neighbour Ethiopia
Ethiopia has rejected accusations from the government in Mogadishu that it has troops in Somalia.

The Somalian Government says that its neighbour is actively trying to destabilise the country and is trying to establish a breakaway state in the south-west.

It is very unfortunate for this so-called transitional government to accuse Ethiopia for its own failures

Yemane Kidane
Somalia's Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh told the BBC that the policy of the Ethiopians in Somalia was one of "suppressing, of shooting, of killing [and] of maiming".

But Ethiopian Foreign Minstry official Yemane Kidane denies that their troops have taken control of several Somali towns, saying "not a single Ethiopan soldier has crossed the border and entered Somali territory".

He said the Somali authorities were trying to distract attention from its failure to unite the country, in what is a growing diplomatic row.

The Somali Government was elected at a reconciliation conference in Djibouti last August and is the country's first central administration since 1991.

The government, however, has failed to take control of much of the country beyond the capital, Mogadishu.

The rest of Somalia is divided into areas either seeing themselves as independent countries or fiefdoms of warlords.

Producing evidence

Speaking on the BBC's Network Africa programme, the Somali prime minister said that the government was willing to take international journalists to the affected region to prove their statements.

Somali President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan is struggling to impose his authority on the country

Ethiopia is also being accused of being behind the recent meeting of clan leaders to set up an administration for the Bay, Bakol and Gedo regions.

Earlier this week there were reports that Ethiopian soldiers in south-west Somalia had killed five people while firing on a crowd of demonstrators.

Somalia, earlier this month, took their claims to the United Nations.

Ethiopia responded by saying that Somalia was using Ethiopia as a scapegoat for its own problems.

Ethiopia argues that, given its long border with Somalia, the country has legitimate national security concerns when the political situation is so volatile.

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See also:

12 Jan 01 | Africa
UN backs Somalia peace mission
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Somalia
29 Nov 00 | Africa
Governing Somalia from a hotel
08 Jan 01 | Africa
Somalia accuses Ethiopia
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