The African Union and the Arab League have issued a joint demand that all foreign troops leave Somalia. That includes the Ethiopians, who are the main supporters of Somalia’s interim government in its fight against the Union of Islamic Courts.
Ethiopian-backed pro-government troops have advanced to within a few kilometres of the capital Mogadishu, currently held by the Islamists.
There is panic in the city with many residents desperate to flee. But the Somali ambassador says they will not attack, rather they will surround Mogadishu until their Islamist rivals surrender. Earlier they seized the key town of Jowhar – just 90 kilometres from the capital – before taking Balad.