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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Crackdown signaled in Mogadishu

Mogadishu is scarred by 10 years of fighting
By Hassan Barise in Mogadishu

A rare day of celebration took place in the capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday to mark the 41st anniversary of Somalia's independence.


We will crush all the banditry in Mogadishu

Prime Minister Ali Khalif Gallaydh
It marks the first time that independence festivities have been held under the auspices of the transitional national government.

A flag-raising ceremony was held in Mogadishu's main stadium and the city was lit up with colored lights, a sight not seen in the capital for the past 10 years.

But the lights were mainly concentrated around the government houses and the streets leading to them, with most of the roads remaining as dark as before.

At the ceremony, Prime Minister Ali Khalif Gallaydh spoke about the history of the day, but also the current issue of security.

Operations

Mr Gallaydh vowed that his government would soon be able to control the capital.

Somali President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
The Somali president is struggling to impose his authority on the country
"Major operations will start immediately after today," he said, sending his condolences to the families of two police officers killed three days ago.

"I promise the noble cause in which these two men were killed will continue and we will crush all the banditry in Mogadishu," he said.

The major part of the celebrations started at the former 21 October parade ground, which has been rehabilitated by the interim government in the past few days.

Tens of thousands of people from all corners in the capital gathered to witness the parade attended by several thousand uniformed policemen and military.

Several thousand students in their school uniforms marched before the ground and all 16 districts of Mogadishu sent their particular traditional dancers to perform.

Ethiopia

President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan spoke about foreign relations.

He concentrated on Ethiopia with whom, until recently, the TNG has had a strained relationship.

"We very much welcome the recent understanding between us and Ethiopia," he said.

"Our differences should be over and the two neighboring peoples should respect each other and maintain a real collaboration," he said.

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See also:

19 Jun 01 | Africa
Ethiopia to mediate in Somalia
15 Jun 01 | Africa
Somalia 'was wrong' over Ethiopia
31 Jan 01 | Africa
Somalia's thoughtful 'warlord'
29 Nov 00 | Africa
Governing Somalia from a hotel
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Somalia
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