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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 10:04 GMT
Somali PM fuels peacekeeper row
Somali MPs fighting with chairs (Pictures from KTN)
The scuffle began after a vote by show of hands
Somalia's prime minister has refused to recognise a vote by MPs on Thursday rejecting the deployment of regional peacekeepers to the divided country.

Mohammed Ali Ghedi said Speaker Sharif Hasan Sheikh Adan had conducted the vote unconstitutionally, and blamed him for a brawl which followed.

The MPs threw heavy chairs at each other and beat each other with sticks.

Mr Adan defended the vote, saying MPs would accept troops from states other than Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed wants troops to help with the relocation of the administration from Kenya, but key warlords oppose the move.

Since 1991, when the government fell, rival warlords have divided Somalia into a patchwork of fiefdoms.

Warning to ministers

President Yusuf was meeting senior politicians and warlords in the Kenyan capital Nairobi to try to resolve the issue, AFP news agency reported.

Exiled Somali Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Ghedi
There is no powerful man in Somalia - the people today want peace and the government
Mohammed Ali Gedi
Somali prime minister

"The president is monitoring the situation very carefully and has expressed his sorrow for what happened," spokesman Yusuf Ismail Baribari told the agency.

Mr Ghedi said he could not afford to exclude neighbouring states from the peacekeeping mission, and threatened to sack any minister who opposed him.

"There is no powerful man in Somalia... The people today want peace and the government," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme, in an apparent warning to warlords to the proposal.

According to the BBC's Caroline Karobia in Nairobi the scuffles began after the parliament speaker asked MPs to raise their hands in the vote.

More than half of them were against sending regional troops to Somalia.

Facts and figures about life in Somalia

Kenya television showed footage of the brawl, with parliamentarians tending to bleeding head wounds. Five MPs went to hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, the regional body Igad has warned the new Somalia transitional government that time is running out for it to re-locate from the Kenyan capital Nairobi back to Mogadishu.

So far, Somali parliamentarians have been unable to return to Mogadishu because of security concerns.

But key warlords are opposed to the inclusion of Ethiopian troops and there have been huge protests in the capital.


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