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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 18:08 GMT
Troops 'offered' for Somali force
Somali police
The government is trying to restore order in Mogadishu
Several unamed African countries have offered to contribute troops to a Somali peacekeeping force, the leaders of Ethiopia and Kenya have said.

In Somalia, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi named five countries as agreeing to send troops and said he expected them to be in place this month.

Only Uganda has publicly offered to contribute to the proposed 8,000-strong peacekeeping force.

Ethiopia wants to pull its soldiers out of Somalia within weeks.

They recently helped government forces oust Islamists who controlled much of southern Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu.

After years operating in a difficult environment to be closed down when you hope there will be stability coming soon is quite amazing
Journalist Ahmed Abdisalam
In a briefing to parliament, Mr Ghedi named the countries who had agreed to send troops as: Uganda; Nigeria; South Africa; Malawi and Senegal.

Over the weekend, the regional body, Igad, sent envoys to seven African countries, asking them to contribute to a proposed 8,000-strong peacekeeping force.

Meanwhile, Somalia's main broadcasters have been allowed to resume operations a day after they were banned.

The reversal follows a meeting between media executives from three radio stations and the interim government. Al-Jazeera TV can also resume work.

The government had said the stations were instigating violence, amid accusations they were biased in favour of the ousted Islamist group.

The government is trying to reassert its control of the country.

Tension

"The government reversed the ban," Ali Iman Sharmarke, co-owner of HornAfrik, told Reuters news agency.

"The international media and international organisations, especially the ones who work to protect the media, played a major role in the lifting of this ban."

Somali woman listening to a radio
The radio stations are back on air
Correspondents say the radio stations - Shabelle Radio, Radio HornAfrik and Voice of the Koran radio - are already back on air.

There are reports that the government is to start publishing its own paper. It already has a website, and two radio stations - Voice of the Republic - broadcasting in Baidoa and Mogadishu.

Earlier, HornAfrik journalist Ahmed Abdisalam said the ban was surprising and dismissed claims that his station was sympathetic to the ousted Union of Islamic Courts.

"After seven years of operating in a very difficult environment to be closed down when you hope that there will be stability coming soon to Somalia is quite amazing," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

He said during the Islamists' six-month rule there was a lot of tension between the media and the courts - the media was given strict rules to follow which were negotiated between the two sides.

Protests

In Somaliland, large demonstrations have been held after interim Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf said he views the breakaway region as part of Somalia.

Map of Somaliland
Somaliland declared independence from Somalia after the overthrow of dictator Siad Barre in 1991, since when the country has been without an effective national government.

For years Somaliland has been campaigning to win support for its claim to be a sovereign state.

And many Somalilanders, who have escaped much of the chaos and violence that have plagued Somalia, are fiercely opposed to any talk of reuniting with their lawless neighbour.




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