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Somali: Islamist leaders dismisses reconciliation board call

By NNN-SomaliNet

Mogadishu : The leader of the ousted Islamic Courts Union on Thursday boycotted the call from the reconciliation conference committee to participate in the congress, which entered its second week.

The exiled leader of the executive council of the defeated Islamic Courts Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed who is now in the Eritrean capital of Asmara told the London based Sharqa-Awsat Arabic newspaper that the remarks by the so-called reconciliation committee as nonsense and have no value to the minds of the Somali society.

“This has nothing to do with the Islamic Courts and we the leaders of the ICU are making it clear that as long as Ethiopian forces remain in the country’s soil no talks can be held inside Somalia,� said Sharif adding, “The country is under occupation by Somalia’s historic enemy of Ethiopia,�

If the puppet government he said wants to make the congress more inclusive it should pull the Ethiopian troops out of the country. “Until the Ethiopians leave our country the ICU can not negotiate with the government,�

Earlier, the transitional government said it would not allow the leaders of the Islamic Courts to attend the meeting as ICU but can take part in the congress as representatives of their clans.

The government statement is now contradicting to the yesterday’s remarks by the reconciliation conference board in which it announced that the Islamist leaders can join the meeting as an organization.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s government troops stormed an Islamic school near KM4 roundabout in south of Mogadishu Thursday taking out a number of suspected teachers and students – as the government continues to hunt down suspects for terror links.

One of the students at the Sunna Islamic School told Somalinet that the soldiers raided the building and ordered all the pupils to stop moving and get ready for searching.

They have entered all rooms of the school before detaining four teachers and twenty students. All detainees were blindfolded according to eyewitnesses in condition of anonymity.

The government soldiers did not give any detail about the arrest of the Sunna school teachers and students.

“We don’t know yet where our teachers and students were taken, I am sure that they were innocents. We are asking for their release,� said one female student.

In related development, a joint Ethiopian-Somali government soldiers raided Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu taking out a number of people including a patient and hospital staff.

Witnesses said the troops supported by four battlewagons made a force entry into the hospital patient rooms and the operating room asking the names of the wounded people in the hospital.

On July 22, the Ethiopians extracted five patients and their relatives from privately owned hospital in Wardhigley neighborhood, south of the capital.

The government intelligence officials said all the arrested people were belonging to the insurgents waging the war in the capital.

A remote controlled roadside bomb has exploded near the main Mogadishu airport on Thursday afternoon as government truck was passing there.

There is no immediate casualty from the latest bomb attack and no one was arrested in connection with the latest bomb.

A witness told Somalinet the bomb was aimed at a pickup truck carrying government soldiers but missed the target.

Shortly after the blast, which was huge and loud, the Ugandan peace keepers reached the area and began investigations to who was behind the attack.

Soldiers of the transitional government raided a village in Hodan district where they took out five persons two of whom were wounded.

According to the local residents, two armored vehicles with soldiers entered a house in Hodan arresting five men including wounded patients.

In Huriwa district, north of the capital, the Ethiopian forces fired gunshots wounding two people after children playing alongside a road threw fire crackers.

At least 200 Somali immigrants convicted of crimes have been deported from Yemen to Somalia, Somali consul in Yemen Hussein Haji said on Thursday.

Before expelling from the country, all the deportees were accused of robbery and drug dealing while some of them had been in Sanaa jails.

Mr. Hussein told the local media that the deported refugees were collected from the refugee camps and inside the town where they were caught in the acts of wrongdoing.

“Most of them were drug addicted and here the government of Yemen introduced a tough law on the drug consumption and dealing,� said Hussein.

The Yemeni government estimates that up to 10,000 Somalis arrive every year. Most of them live in urban areas, where they are self-supporting.

Some 10,000 are being cared for in UNHCR's Al Kharaz camp near Aden.

Since the fall of Somalia's central government in 1991, thousands of asylum seekers and migrants have sought to leave the country every year for a better life in Yemen, which grants prima facie refugee status to all Somali refugees. Along the way, these desperate people often fall prey to unscrupulous boat captains who force them into the sea while still far offshore, so as to evade Yemeni coast guards.