Bloc calls for AU, UN sanctions on Eritrea mining
* IGAD says Eritrea supporting rebels
* Eritrea denies charges
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA, July 4 (Reuters) - An East African bloc on Monday asked the United Nations and the African Union to impose sanctions on Eritrea's booming mining sector for its alleged support of rebels seeking to overthrow Somalia's government.
AU peacekeepers have gained ground in recent months against the Somali insurgents al Shabaab, who claim ties with al Qaeda, but neighbouring states and Western security forces fear the nation could become a haven for militants unless they are completely flushed out.
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's U.N.-backed administration is the 15th attempt in two decades to set up central rule in Somalia, which has been mired in violence and awash with weapons since the overthrow of dictator Siad Barre in 1991.
"(We) strongly condemn the activities of Eritrea, (which) has taken an active part in destabilising the region by supporting extremist and other subversive elements," the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said.
"(IGAD) calls on the AU and the UN Security Council to fully implement the existing sanctions and impose additional sanctions selectively on the Eritrean regime, especially on those economic and mining sectors that the regime draws on," a statement added. Continued...