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Archive for Monday, November 27, 2006

Militia deploys troops near Ethiopian border

November 27, 2006

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— The Islamic militia that controls much of southern Somalia dispatched thousands of troops Sunday to within nine miles of the border with Ethiopia, heightening fears that fighting would break out between the two sides.

A local reporter also said the Islamists were recruiting people for a holy war against Ethiopia, a largely Christian nation that is concerned about the emergence of a neighboring Islamic state and supports Somalia's fragile government.

"All our troops in the region are now ready at the front lines to face their enemy," said Mohamed Mohamud Agaweine, the military commander for the Council of Islamic Courts in central Somalia. He said thousands of Islamic fighters were in the region around the town of Abud-waq but did not give an exact figure.

The Islamic council has been steadily gaining ground since seizing the capital of Mogadishu in June, while Somalia's 2-year-old interim government has failed to assert control anywhere except the town of Baidoa.

Experts have warned Somalia has become a proxy battleground for its neighbors, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

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