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Somali Government Seeks Martial Law in Mogadishu


Somalia's interim government is pushing lawmakers to approve a proposed 90-day period of marshal law in the capital, Mogadishu.

Interim Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aideed says parliament may meet as early as Saturday to debate and vote on the proposal.

Islamist forces that had controlled Mogadishu for six months abandoned the capital last week, as government forces and their stronger Ethiopian allies advanced on the city.

Witnesses say local militias and residents have almost completely ignored a government order for people to hand in their weapons.

Meanwhile, government and Ethiopian troops continue to pursue Islamist fighters who have fled to far southern Somalia, near the border with Kenya. Kenyan officials say four Ethiopian helicopters mistakenly opened fire on a Kenyan border post on Tuesday. No casualties were reported.

Kenya has boosted security along its border to keep the Islamists from crossing over. U.N. humanitarian officials say Kenya has denied entrance to around four thousand Somalis who were displaced by the recent fighting.

Members of the European Union are meeting in Brussels Wednesday to discuss ways of restoring peace to Somalia.

And Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is in Ethiopia today to discuss with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a regional peacekeeping mission for Somalia.

Mr. Meles said Tuesday that Ethiopian troops may leave Somalia within a few weeks. But Somalia's interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said the Ethiopians might stay for months. Both Ethiopia and Somalia are appealing for an African peacekeeping force.

Somalia has been without an effective central authority since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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