MOGADISHU, Somalia, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts warned Monday the Transitional Federal Government's taking a town near its headquarters increases the risk of civil war.
Union Vice Commander Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali told the U.N. Integrated Regional Information Network that the transitional government had Ethiopian assistance when its troops seized Buur Hakaba. Ethiopia denies involvement.
Buur Hakaba is about 50 miles from Baidoa, where the transitional government is based, and 130 miles from Mogadishu, the capital. The town had been held by militia friendly to the union.
The transitional government was set up in 2004, 13 years after the ouster of Siad Barre removed Somalia's last government. But earlier this year, the union gained control of Mogadishu after defeating the warlords who had run the city since 1991.
Union Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has declared a jihad against Ethiopia, journalists who saw the sheikh told IRIN. He was wearing a military uniform for the first time.
Peace talks between the two groups had been scheduled to start Oct. 30 in Khartoum.