PAC hits out at Ethiopian forces

REJECTS INTERVENTION PAC's Costa Gazi. Pic. Len Kumalo. 27/01/02. Sowetan.
REJECTS INTERVENTION PAC's Costa Gazi. Pic. Len Kumalo. 27/01/02. Sowetan.

Sowetan Reporter

Sowetan Reporter

The PAC has condemned the involvement of the Ethiopian armed forces in the battle between the Somali government and Islamist insurgents.

PAC's foreign affairs secretary, Costa Gazi, said yesterday that the involvement of Ethiopian forces "had nothing to do with any threats to Ethiopian sovereignty but everything to do with furthering the aims of the Bush war against terror".

The PAC's call comes after Somali government troops - backed by Ethiopian armed forces - captured the last major stronghold held by the Islamist militants.

Gazi said Ethiopia's involvement in Somali must be seen in the light of endless warnings from Washington that Somalia could become a base for al- Qaeda insurgents.

Gazi said the battles with the Islamist movement were an indication that "the so-called interim Somali government was weak and unpopular".

He said Ethiopia's intervention would worsen the situation in Somalia and inspire war between the country's numerous clans.

"This is the inevitable consequence of any occupation force, as we have already seen in Iraq," he said.

The PAC has called for the South African government to reinforce the call of the African Union for all foreign troops to withdraw from Somalia and for peace talks to resume between the Somali government and the Islamists.

"We wait with bated breath for some government response because this Mbeki administration also seems to believe that military intervention can solve problems," Gazi said.