US tells Somali warlord to get out of Kismayu

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The Independent Online
MOGADISHU (Reuter) - US-led forces yesterday gave the Somali warlord, Mohamed Siad Hersi Morgan, until midnight tomorrow to pull his forces out of the southern city of Kismayu, where his militia has fought running battles with rivals.

Fred Peck, US military spokesman, said the ultimatum, signed by Lieutenant-General Robert Johnston, commander of American forces in Somalia, and the US special envoy, Robert Oakley, had been communicated to General Morgan by radio. 'We all want all of Morgan's forces - not just those in Kismayu - and their weapons to be in their designated cantonment area, which is near the town of Doble, 30 miles north- west of Kismayu, by midnight on Thursday.'

However, Belgium denied that militia loyal to Gen Morgan had seized Kismayu. The United Nations spokesman in Mogadishu said earlier that Gen Morgan was in control of Kismayu and had driven out forces loyal to his rival, Omar Jess. 'We have information which indicates that Morgan did not seize Kismayu,' a Belgian Defence Ministry spokesman said. 'The Belgians and the Americans are in control,' he added. About 900 Belgian paratroops are based in Kismayu as part of the US-led effort to restore law and order and get food to millions of starving Somalis.

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