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Somali Opposition Forms New 'Liberation Movement'


Somali opposition leaders meeting in Eritrea's capital, Asmara, have united to form an alliance against the Ethiopian forces now in Somalia.

Opposition spokesman, Zakariya Mahamud Abdi told reporters Wednesday that group is calling itself the Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia.

The spokesman issued a warning to the Ethiopian forces in Somalia, saying it is now or never for them to withdraw.

Some 350 delegates, including Somali Islamist leaders, have been meeting in Asmara since last week. The conference is aimed at unifying opposition groups to press for the Ethiopians' exit from Somalia.

The opposition group has called on all African nations to take action against Ethiopia for its military presence in Somalia.

The group also has criticized the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, saying it is not neutral.

Islamist-led insurgents in Somalia have been fighting Ethiopian and Somali government forces for months in the capital, Mogadishu.

The Somali interim government pushed a rival Islamist movement from power in Mogadishu and other cities late last year. However, the government has struggled to assert authority in the face of chronic violence that has displaced more than 100,000 city residents.

Somalia has not had a stable central government since 1991.

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

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