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Friday, February 27, 2009

Somalia slams AMISOM over civilian deaths

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 19:41:35 GMT | PressTV



The recent attacks led to
the deaths of ne
arly
fifty people
The Somali government has slammed the recent attacks by African Union forces on civilians, urging all foreign troops to leave the country.

Somalia's newly-formed government stated on Friday that it was saddened by the shelling of residential areas by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in Mogadishu.


"AMISOM actions are unacceptable. They were sent here to protect civilians, not to kill them," Suleiman Olad Rooble, the minister for youth and sports said in a news conference.

He also added that an urgent cabinet meeting will soon discuss the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Horn of African nation, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The statement follows three days of intense fighting in residential areas between rebels and AMISOM forces in Mogadishu, leading to the deaths of nearly fifty people -- mostly civilians -- and the injury of almost a hundred others.

The presence of the nearly 34,000 peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi has been a thorny issue for the new Somali government.

Influential clerics and Local clan elders have demanded the government to call for the withdrawal of the foreign force within 120 days. Somali opposition groups have meanwhile vowed to continue fighting the AMISOM troops until the peacekeepers are completely withdrawn from Somalia.

The new Somali government led by president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has repeatedly said that there would be no need for further foreign forces and those currently deployed would leave the country.

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