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Somali Leaders Form Anti-Ethiopia Front
ASMARA — Somali Deputy Premier Hussein Aidid, Islamic Courts leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and sacked parliament speaker Sharif Hassan formed Wednesday, April 18, a joint national front against the Ethiopian occupation of their country.
"Up until now we are using dialogue to remove them (Ethiopians) but if they refuse to cooperate ... we will set everything aside to remove the Ethiopians ourselves," Aidid told a joint press conference with Sharif and Hassan, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The three senior leaders shared a stage under a Somali map emblazoned with a dove and the logo "Somalia for Somalis."
They asserted that the Somali people will unite against the "brutal occupation" of Ethiopian forces.
"Less than 10 percent of our forces are on the ground against the Ethiopians. No army, I can tell you that, can stop what is coming up," said Aidid, the housing minister in the West-backed interim government.
Sheikh Sharif, the head of the Islamic Courts executive council, said the interim Somali government has become a tool in the Ethiopian hands.
"It has become an instrument to implement Ethiopian policies in Somalia."
Ethiopian troops stormed Somalia last December to overthrow the Islamic Courts, which had restored order and stability in war-battered Somalia, in favor of the powerless interim government.
Sheikh Sharif called on the Somalis to continue resisting the Ethiopian occupation of their country.
"We congratulate the heroic people of Somalia, and their victorious resistance," he said.
"We call upon all citizens everywhere to oppose the Ethiopian occupation, defend their country and guarantee the freedom and independence of the nation."