leader of the Somali opposition Islamic Courts called on Yemen on Friday not
to extradite Ethiopian soldiers he said had fled to the Arab country from
the fighting in Somalia.
Yemeni newspapers have reported that dozens
of Ethiopian soldiers were among Somali refugees who arrived in Yemen in the
past week, but Yemeni officials denied the reports.
“This war is illegal and immoral and any soldier who flees from it for
fear of killing or being killed deserves to be … treated in a humanitarian
way,” Sheikh Sharif Ahmed told Al Jazeera television.
“We ask our brothers in Yemen … not to hand them over to the Ethiopian
regime because it is known that they would be either tortured or killed,”
said Ahmed, who is visiting the Eritrean capital Asmara.
Yemen, located across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia, is a frequent destination
for Somali refugees.
More than 200,000 people have left the Somali capital Mogadishu since February
during fighting between the Ethiopia-backed government and Islamist insurgents
and clan fighters.
Sporadic shelling and gunfire shook Mogadishu on Friday, but Somali President
Abdullahi Yusuf downplayed this week’s violence which residents say has killed
at least 30 people and wounded scores more.