Aideed, Somalia's most prominent warlord, has denied signing a reconciliation
pact with the country's recently elected president and warned of fresh violence
if the new leader tried to impose his rule.
met Abdiqassim Salad Hassan in Libya 10 days ago but he said no agreement was
reached and that he considered his rival to be just another of Somalia's faction
leaders. "We do not accept Abdiqassim as president of the Somali republic," Aideed
said in Nairobi late on Sunday.
Libya arranged the meeting and said the two men had signed a reconciliation pact,
raising hopes that Abdiqassim Salad would soon be able to set up Somalia's first
government in a decade. He was elected president in late August by a fledgling
parliament-in-exile sitting in the small mountain resort of Arta in neighbouring
has already won international backing and public support inside Somalia. But he
faces stiff resistance from Aideed and other warlords in the capital Mogadishu
as well as from two northern regions that have set up their own governments.
Aideed said the only way to resolve Somalia's crisis was for all factional and
regional leaders, including Abdiqassim Salad, to meet in Mogadishu and negotiate
a transitional government.
He said the new parliament was dominated by Islamic fundamentalists and warned
of an "explosion" of violence if Abdiqassim Salad tried to rule without the support
of the faction leaders. "If the Arta group tries to impose itself as the government
of Somalia, there will be a new reaction," Aideed said. "Lives will be lost in
is what we are trying to prevent." Civil war among Somalia's rival clans first
erupted when former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in early 1991.
A massive United Nations peacekeeping force was sent to the Horn of Africa nation
but it was harassed and ultimately forced out by militiamen belonging to Aideed's
clan. After the warlords failed to find peace at a dozen separate conferences,
Djibouti launched an initiative aimed at bringing traditional clan elders together
and isolating the gunmen.
from all the clans joined the Arta conference in May and three months later set
up a 245-member parliament which then elected Abdiqassim Salad as president. He
is backed in Mogadishu by an alliance of businessmen and Islamic clerics who are
trying to set up a new police force to secure the city before the new government
of militiamen have already joined the new force and Abdiqassim Salad's backers
say they include many of the gunmen who previously worked for the faction leaders.
But the warlords say they have suffered very few defections and insist their military
power is still intact.
come under our command. None of them have joined (the police force) and none of
them will join. This I can assure you," Aideed said. "The factions are capable.
Militarily, they are ready and capable."
also rejected suggestions that he or any other warlord could be bought off with
senior posts in Abdiqassim Salad's new government. "This is not acceptable. For
us, we have no trouble getting jobs. We do not need to be ministers," he said