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Somali government accuses Ethiopia of aiding opponents


Somalia's provisional government accused Ethiopia on Friday of sending a convoy of arms and ammunition to opposition warlords to destabilize the fledgling administration.

A convoy of a dozen lorries carrying weapons and escorted by more than 150 armed militiamen in pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, or "technicals," arrived in the capital Mogadishu on Thursday night, according to witnesses.

The arms were delivered to the headquarters of Muse Sudi Yalahow in southwest Mogadishu, one of the warlords who met in Ethiopia in March to establish a rival government to the new administration of President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan.

A source close to Muse Sudi said the arms were delivered as a gift of the Ethiopian government and included AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles as well as grenades and anti-personnel mines.

Abdiqassim's Interior Minister Dahir Dayah told journalists that similar weapons had been delivered to the Rahanwein Resistance Army, another opposition faction operating in the Bay and Bakol regions of southern Somalia.

He also called on the international community to take note of Ethiopia's efforts to undermine his government.

Abdiqassim's government was established after a long meeting of clan leaders in Arta in neighboring Djibouti last year, to become the anarchic country's first internationally recognized administration in nearly a decade. But it still only controls pockets of territory within Somalia and is opposed by many of the country's warlords.

Observers say Ethiopia is nervous of any strong government in its neighbor and rival and suspicious of perceived Islamic fundamentalist influences in Abdiqassim's government.

Muse Sudi's militiamen kidnapped ten aid workers in Mogadishu in late March in an apparent attempt to show that Abdiqassim's administration was not in control of the capital.All were later released.

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