Somalian Leader Consults in Djibouti after Clashes
Somali Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh held talks Sunday with foreign envoys in Djibouti, after bloody clashes between the new authorities and one of the armed factions opposed to the Mogadishu government.
Galaydh met Djibouti's President Ismael Omar Guelleh on Saturday after the transitional speaker of Somalia's parliament, Abdallah Derrow Issak, escaped an attack on his convoy in the Baidoa region, Djibouti radio reported.
The prime minister in the interim government on Sunday successively had talks with the ambassadors to Djibouti of Yemen, Ethiopia, the United States and Egypt, officials said.
He was accompanied by a government delegation including Foreign Minister Ismael Mahmoud Horreh.
Issak, escorted by 20 battlewagons known as "technicals" and 150 gunmen, had left Mogadishu early on Friday for a tour of the volatile southern Bakol and Bay regions of Somalia.
The government group was attacked in the central Baidoa region by fighters of the Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA), led by local warlord Hassan Mohamed Nour, known as Shatigudud.
Issak later arrived safely at Elali village in the central Hiran region after fleeing the hostilities with Education Minister Mohamed Aden Ali Kilai, the Qaran daily reported in Mogadishu on Sunday.
Battlewagons have been sent from Mogadishu to rescue them, reports in Mogadishu said.
The Baidoa clashes left at least 18 dead, with nine fatalities on either side, according to sources. Reports in Mogadishu had put the total death toll at nine.
Rival clan leaders and their militia armies have carved up Somalia since the ouster of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991.
Warlords have rejected the country's first central administration since. It was formed last year after a major conference in Djibouti among politicians and civic leaders from the strife-torn Horn of Africa nation.
Issak was the secretary general of the RRA, but fell out with Shatigudud because of his decision to support the transitional government headed by President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan.
Shatigudud removed Issak's supporters from his administration, chased them away from Baidoa and severed all communication links with other parts of Somalia. On Saturday, deputy commander Mohamed Ibrahim Habsde said the RRA had offered a price of 3,000 dollars for the capture of Issak.
Shatigudud initially backed Salat's administration, but later withdrew his support, saying some parts of Somalia were not represented at the conference in Djibouti.
Galaydh was due Monday to leave Djibouti for New York to brief the UN Security Council on developments in his country. He was also to meet members of the incoming administration of US President George W. Bush.
As president in 1992, Bush's father, George Bush, contributed troops to a UN Somalia food aid and reconciliation mission which at its height included 30,000 troops from more than 30 countries.
UN troops pulled out of the country in 1995 after an unsuccessful venture, which cost hundreds of lives. In one incident on October 3, 1993, 19 US Rangers and other UN forces were killed in a Mogadishu battle which left at least 200 Somalis dead -- DJIBOUTI (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)