A leader of the Western Somalia Liberation Front, whose guerrillas are fighting alongside regular Somali troops in the Ogaden war against Ethiopia, has appealed for Arab aid.
LV ZOOM INTO SV: Secretary General of the WSLF seated (centre) with interpreter, Mr. Adam Fareh Ali (left)
CU: Secretary General Mr Abdullah Hassan Mahmoud speaking in Arabic.
CU: Ali interpreting into English with newsmen seated, listening (3 shots)
CU: Secretary General speaking in Arabic.
SV: Ali speaking in English.
INTERPRETER: "The people's forces have gained, regained some of the land which has already been liberated. But how, how true is all this? And we would like to say that we are no longer fighting the Ethiopians. We have already defeated the Ethiopians in battle, and defeated them - even defeated them psychologically.
They are no longer fit to fight. As a matter of fact, we are fighting right now the Russians and the Cubans. There may have been some tactical withdrawals from small parts. But that was only tactical. And it is only clear that these lands which the Ethiopians are talking about were once under the Ethiopian government. Right now they are no longer there."
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Background: A leader of the Western Somalia Liberation Front, whose guerrillas are fighting alongside regular Somali troops in the Ogaden war against Ethiopia, has appealed for Arab aid. Mr Abdullah Hassan Mahmoud, Secretary General of the front, said in the Moroccan capital of Rabat on Friday (17 February) he hoped Arab states would contribute arms, financial aid, food and medical supplies to Somalia. He was in Morocco during a tour of north African countries to outline the Somali stance in the Horn of Africa.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Mahmoud, seated in the middle at the table, made his appeal during a press conference in Rabat. Speaking through an interpreter, he said that the most important and immediate task facing the Somalis was "to free our land from the Ethiopian aggression". He attack foreign intervention in the dispute between the two neighbours and said nations should be allowed "to decide what from the relations they want with each other". He claimed the Front was fighting against Russia and Cuba, and not Ethiopia.
Mr. Mahmoud said about 10,000 Somalis had been wounded in the fighting and medical supplies were urgently required.
Asked if he wanted Arabs to volunteer to fight with Somalia forces, he said: "We do not need men, but arms". He said the Front hoped to obtain assistance from all Arab countries whatever their political regimes because the "new Russian and Cuban imperialism" was a threat to all the Arabs. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan were particularly threatened, he added. The Ogaden issue was not basically an East-West conflict because the people of Western Somalia had been fighting Ethiopia for years.