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Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 16:51 GMT
Fighting 'threatens Somali talks'
Somalia militia
Somalia has been wracked by 13 years of war
Tension between regional Somali leaders may scuttle the peace talks in Kenya, mediators have warned as fighting continues in central Somalia.

Some 13 people were killed and several others injured after inter-clan fighting over land and water in Hiirran region at the weekend.

Kenya's foreign affairs minister Kalonzo Musyoka has asked the leaders to exercise restraint to save the fragile negotiations.

Somalia has not had a government since 1991.

Military advice

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the fighting in Hiirran is the worst since the faction leaders signed a ceasefire agreement last October.

Efforts by local Somali elders to reconcile the warring militias are proving to be futile.

Meanwhile, the president of the breakaway region of Puntland in north-east Somalia, Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed, has accused Djibouti of backing the self-declared republic of Somaliland.

Troops from the two regions have recently been involved in border clashes.

Mr Ahmed said that Djibouti was supplying arms, money and advice to authorities in Somaliland.

But Djibouti's foreign affairs minister Ali Abdi Faraah dismissed the claims as "sheer propaganda".

East Africa's Inter Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) ministerial committee, which is trying to mediate in the Somali conflict, says the tension may plunge the region into conflict.

Deep divisions

Mr Musyoka called on the international community supporting the process to prevail upon the two parties to refrain from acts that would escalate into a fully fledged conflict.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and his Kenyan counterpart, Mwai Kibaki have warned the delegates that the process has been going on for far too long.

The Somali peace process has so far cost over $7m with little results.

Interim Somali President, Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, whose delegation walked out of talks in November, was persuaded to come thanks largely to a personal invitation from Mr Museveni.

Correspondents say the deep divisions which exist between the different parties at the talks are plain for all to see.


SEE ALSO:
Trouble with Somali talks
05 Nov 03  |  Africa
Analysis: Somalia's powerbrokers
08 Jan 02  |  Africa
Somalis agree government
05 Jul 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Somalia
13 Aug 03  |  Country profiles


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