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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Ethiopians enter new Somali town
Islamist militia in Somalia
The Islamists control much of southern Somalia
Ethiopian troops have reportedly moved into another town in south-western Somalia, two days after entering the country to protect the weak government.

Aid workers and residents in Wajid said the armed forces also took over the town's airstrip early on Saturday.

There is no confirmation from either the Ethiopian or the Somali government.

The Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC), a militia which controls the capital and much of the south, has vowed to drive out Ethiopian troops.

The Ethiopians moved into Somalia on Thursday and have been seen in Baidoa, where the beleaguered interim government is based.

'Holy war'

Eyewitnesses said Ethiopian soldiers took over control of the airstrip at Wajid - about 100km (60 miles) north of Baidoa - before dawn on Saturday.

They told the AP news agency that about 200 Ethiopians with at least five pick-up trucks mounted with guns and other vehicles moved into the isolated town.

There were also reports that military helicopters landed at the airstrip.

Anybody who sides with Ethiopia will be considered a traitor
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
Senior UIC leader

The town had been controlled by a local militia. It is unclear whether there was any fighting.

The UIC has pledged to wage a "holy war" to drive out Ethiopian troops.

The Islamic militia drove the warlords from the capital, Mogadishu in June, saying they wanted to restore law and order.

The UIC has since consolidated its power over many parts of southern Somalia.

But Ethiopia is strongly opposed to the militia and has repeatedly warned that it will send its army into Somalia if the government is attacked.

Ethiopia has been a long-term ally of President Abdullahi Yusuf.

UIC leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has accused him of being "a servant of Ethiopia".

A UN report earlier this year said that Mr Aweys had been getting significant military aid from Ethiopia's rival, Eritrea - a claim Eritrea has denied.

Mr Aweys has denied US accusations that he and the UIC have links to al-Qaeda.

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