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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 17:21 GMT
Wild pigs threaten Somali peace talks
Somali peace talks
Hope were high when the talks opened
Delegates at the Somalia peace talks have threatened to leave because of the presence of wild pigs at the new venue.

The talks were switched over the weekend from the western town of Eldoret to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in a bid to save money.

I am an important person... My fellow Somalis will miss me if I go

Warlord Mawlid Maane
Four months of discussions have failed to achieve much progress, beyond an often violated agreement to stop fighting while the talks continue.

Hotel owners in Eldoret complain that they have not been paid.

Earlier this month, auditors were called in to look into $3.75m of unpaid bills.

The new venue is next to Nairobi national park, home to a variety of wild animals, including pigs.

Somalis are overwhelmingly Muslim and consider pigs to be unclean.

Bogged down

Warlord Mawlid Maane is extremely unhappy at the change of venue.

"This is not the proper place for a reconciliation conference. This is a college for students," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme, threatening to go home.

He was charged last month for assaulting a professor at the talks but he denied that other delegates would be pleased to see him go.

"I am an important person... My fellow Somalis will miss me if I go," he said.

The talks have been bogged down for months as organisers try to reduce delegate numbers.

Some 1,000 people turned up when the talks began in October, after just 300 were invited.

More than a dozen attempts to broker peace in Somalia have failed since President Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.

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Mawlid Maane on BBC Focus on Africa
"This is not a proper place for a reconciliation conference."

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