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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 January 2007, 14:59 GMT
Protests hit Somali border town
Somalis protest in Mogadishu
Many Somalis want the Ethiopians to go
Demonstrators in a Somali town close to the Ethiopian border have demanded the release from detention of a local official, burning tyres in protest.

He was arrested by Ethiopian troops in the town of Beledweyne after refusing to hand over a leading member of the ousted Union of Islamic Courts.

There are reports of gunfire and casualties from the town.

Ethiopian forces backing the Somali interim government have driven Islamist forces out of large areas of Somalia.

A nurse in Beledweyne, some 300km (188 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, said three people had been brought to the town's hospital with bullet wounds.

"I think there will be more casualties because the demonstration is continuing and there is heavy fire in the town," Hassan Ali Der was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Clashes in capital

In Mogadishu, militiamen loyal to the Somali transitional government have been patrolling the streets.

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Thousands of Ethiopian troops - who clashed with local residents on Saturday - are camped just outside the city.

The interim President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf, has returned to the government headquarters town of Baidoa after talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa with Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi.

Mr Meles said Ethiopian troops should leave Somalia within two weeks.




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