From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Feb 04 2009 - 07:38:17 EST
Somali President describes Amisom response to attack as disproportionate
By HENRY OWUOR
Wednesday, February 4 2009 at 10:38
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed today described the response of AU
peacekeepers to an attack that led to the deaths of 39 civilians in
Mogadishu as "disproportionate''.
The fighting came after a convoy of Ugandan AU peacekeepers was ambushed.
Addressing a press conference in Addis Ababa today on the sidelines of the
AU summit, Mr Sharif said: "I understand the challenging situation for the
peace-keepers on the ground'' but, ''any action taken by AMISOM should be
Earlier today in Mogadishu, Major Ba-Huko Barigye, spokesman of the African
Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) said only one soldier was injured during
an ambush on the troops on Monday close to the presidential palace.
Mr Sharif, who briefed a well attended press conference in Addis Ababa also
hit back at Eritrea for its comments on his election.
He said he was elected by Somalis and dismissed a statement issued by the
Eritrean Foreign Ministry that Asmara did not recognise Mr Sharif's
election. He said: "I was elected by Somalis and the Eritrea view is
Since the attack took place close to the presidential palace in Mogadishu,
it is clear that this was a message to the new president to keep off the
Eritrea's statement said the new government "established in Djibouti was not
legitimate and did not represent the interests of the Somali people.''
Somalia has not had a stable government since former dictator Mohamad Siad
Barre fled the country a fact that led to the splitting of the country among
clan warlords. Many attempts have been made to restore order to the country
President Sharif, who looked shaken as he briefed the media in Addis, did
not say when he is likely to return home.
Uganda has some 1,600 troops in Somalia under an AU peacekeeping mission.
Today, a number of Somali leaders accused Amisom of "killing innocent
Yesterday, the new Somali president met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and
leaders of the regional Igad grouping to discuss the Somali crisis.
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