Ethiopian soldiers deployed in southern Somalia confiscated heavy weapons belonging to former Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi on Friday, sources said.
The Ethiopian soldiers, who were accompanied by officials from the Somali Ministry of Defense, confiscated the weaponry from the private residence of the ex-Prime Minister.
Witnesses reported that 10 Toyota trucks equipped with anti-aircraft guns were pulled out of the Mogadishu residence of Mr. Gedi, who is still a member of parliament.
A Gedi aide who lives in Mogadishu privately confirmed to Garowe Online that the armored trucks were confiscated by the Ethiopian troops on behalf of the Somali government.
It is not clear why the interim government has confiscated the weaponry at this time, but insiders said Defense Ministry officials had indicated before that they would collect private weapons in the hands of government officials.
Mr. Gedi becomes the first individual whose weapons have been confiscated in this ongoing process, the sources added.
The former Prime Minister, who has lived in Nairobi since resigning last October, is a close associate of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Observers say Mr. Gedi is quietly leading a political arm opposed to the leadership of Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf from his Nairobi base. The ex-Premier has publicly announced plans to run for Somali president in the 2009 elections.