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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
AU backs 8,000 troops for Somalia
Demonstration in Mogadishu
Many in Mogadishu oppose foreign intervention
The African Union has approved plans to send 8,000 peacekeepers to Somalia to support the interim government.

An alliance of Islamic courts which controls the capital and much of central and southern Somalia says it will oppose any deployment by force.

A meeting at AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, agreed that the first soldiers should be in place by the end of the month.

But obstacles remain as the AU does not have the funds to pay for the troops.

The approval for the force by the African Union Peace and Security Council also appears to fly in the face of a shaky agreement between Somalia's interim government and the Islamic courts not to allow any foreign intervention.


Further talks are expected to resume on 30 October. The two sides have already agreed on a united army.

Somalia has been without any effective government for the past 15 years divided into fiefdoms controlled by rival warlords.

The interim government has the support of the UN, but it controls only a small area of the country around its base in Baidoa, about 250km from the capital and a powerful local warlord has ordered them to leave.

The Islamists accuse the government of bolstering its defences with troops from Ethiopia, while they in turn have been accused of using military backing from Eritrea.


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