Somalians protest against deployment of African Union troops

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Sunday, February 13, 2005 On Friday thousands of Somalis made a peaceful protest in Mogadishu against the planned deployment of African Union troops into the country.

The Islamic Courts' Union, the Umbrella organisation of Islamic Clerics and the supporters of two warlords-turned-cabinet ministers, Husein Aideed and Osman Ali Ato organised the demonstration.

Many of the protestors claimed to reject the intervention of foreign troops on grounds of faith.

The African Union plans on deploying troops forming a Peace Support Mission to support the return of Somalians from Kenya. The country has been without government since 1991 when President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown, with various factions and warlords fighting for control since.

The new Transitional Federal Government, headed by President Abdullahi Yusuf, is due to take control on February 21.

Abdullahi Yusuf was elected President by Somalia's transitional parliament on October 10, 2004. He won the votes of 189 of the 275 members of parliament, with the election held in a sports hall in Nairobi, Kenya. His government is recognized by most western nations as the country's legitimate rulers

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