January 07, 2007

Ethiopian forces arrest Somali commander

(SomaliNet) The Ethiopian forces command in central Somalia has arrested the Somalia army commander for central provinces after he refused to comply with the Ethiopian order, reports say on Sunday.

Colonel Mukhtar Hussein Afrah was taken to Mogadishu, Somalia capital where the main central command of Ethiopian military is located.

Witnesses said a large number of Ethiopian troops along with tanks and pick-up trucks mounted with artillery arrived at the town of Baledweyn and took away the commander.

Reports say that Col. Hussein showed the Ethiopians a written statement but dismissed it. The local tribal chiefs, elders and the intellects of the province have declared that Farah Moalim, an Islamist but among the forgiven Islamists. The statement said.

The arrest of the senior official has sparked a conflict between the Ethiopian and government officers.

The Ethiopians wanted the central military commander to hand over Farah Moalim Mohamud, former Islamist leader in the region who was released from the jail but Mr. Hussein rejected to do so.

Farah Moalim was released after the interim government offered amnesty to all former Islamists.

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