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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Somali warlord jailed over debt
Hussein Aideed
Aideed was in Kenya to attend peace talks
One of Somalia's most powerful warlords has started a one-month prison sentence in Kenya over an unpaid business debt.

Hussein Aideed was arrested at the Nairobi hotel where he was staying in order to attend peace talks.

He was paid 15m Kenyan shillings ($190,000) to carry out reconstruction work in Somalia in 1997 but the work was never done, a court found.

He is the son of the late General Mohamed Farah Aideed, who US forces vainly tried to capture in 1993.

The US pulled out of Somalia after Aideed militiamen killed several US soldiers and dragged their bodies through the streets of the capital, Mogadishu.

The clashes were portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down.

The BBC's Daud Aweis in Mogadishu said some people in the city were very surprised by the arrest.

They believed that Hussein Aideed should have been given time to defend himself.

Talks delayed?

Hussein Aideed is a US citizen and served with the US military before returning home to lead the United Somali Congress/Somali National Alliance faction after the death of his father in 1996.

He controls parts of southern Mogadishu and central Somalia.

He owed the money to Kenyan businessman Ijaz Hussein Ganijee.

Somalia has had no central government since 1991 and is divided into areas controlled by rival warlords.

The third phase of peace talks between the faction leaders is due to start on Friday but the BBC's Ishbel Matheson in Nairobi says the arrest deals another blow to the troubled negotiations.

The talks began in October 2002 and the rivals have agreed a ceasefire and the creation of a power-sharing government.

But this has not yet been formed.




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