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Italian journalist briefly held in Somalia


Rome - Islamist militants in Somalia detained an Italian journalist this weekend over reports of his they said were incorrect, but eventually allowed him to leave the country after pressure from moderates, the reporter said.

Massimo Alberizzi of Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper said he was stopped at his hotel in Mogadishu.

Armed militants then drove him to an empty airstrip where he was questioned about his reporting, including about reports on support Eritrea may have given the Islamists.

"They had read my stories, they said... 'You wrote something incorrect. Do you remember which? Do you remember how? When?," Alberizzi said. "I tried to explain that I wrote a dozen, a hundred, stories a year about Somalia."

Defected Somaliland Officers Join Islamic Courts in Mogadishu

Two high-ranking officers have defected from the secessionist government of Somaliland and joined the Union of Islamic Courts based in the capital. They have revealed their defection in apress conference they held in the capital Mogadishu.

Mohammed Abdulahi Abas, an officer with expertise of tanks and Abdi Duale Abokar, an air defense officer have declared that they have decided to join Somalia's Islamists and take part in the jihad war against Ethiopia. Somalia's Islamists announced a jihad or holy war against Ethiopia several times in the past.

The two officers claimed they were soldiers trained in Ethiopia. "I will use the knowledge I have learnt from Ethiopia against them in defense of Somalia," said Mohammed Abdulahi Abas.

This is the first time that soldiers from the breakaway republic of Somaliland have joined the Union of Islamic Courts. Somaliland broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991 when the central authority of the country had collapsed.

Abas called on fellow Somaliland officers to join the Islamic Courts and defend Somalia against Ethiopia. The news comes as the transitional government has endorsed the US backed draft resolution, which would let East African peacekeeping troops to be deployed in Somalia if it was approved.

Mohammed Abdulahi Abas, an officer with expertise of tanks and Abdi Duale Abokar, an air defense officer

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