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Somalia's fiercest warlord returned from bush battles like a conquering hero Saturday and ruled out the deployment of 3,000 U.N. troops to stop gunmen looting food for the starving.

"Without our consent they cannot come and we will not agree, absolutely," declared guerrilla leader Mohamed Farah Aideed, returning to battle-ruined Mogadishu after five months.A brass band of his rag-tag army was on hand, gaudily dressed girls waved bougainvillea branches and hundreds of gunmen hustled terrified civilians when Aideed flew into Mogadishu's derelict airport.

Militias fired anti-aircraft guns into the air and beat civilians back to clear streets.

Aideed, 50, a former army general and ambassador to India, drove to the headquarters of his United Somalia Congress faction in south Mogadishu to deliver a victory speech.

Loud cries of "Allahu Akbar" - God is great - greeted his account of battles he fought to expel former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre from the country in April.

On the extra United Nations force, Aideed said he believed the 500 Pakistani troops taking positions this week, plus a local police force of 6,000, could handle security in the country.

Last month the Security Council called for the extra 3,000 troops after relief workers complained that conditions were too insecure for them to take food and medical supplies to 1.5 million starving people on the brink of death.

While most clan leaders have consented to the extra troops, Aideed said they would violate Somalia's independence - even though the state has been carved into anarchic fiefdoms ruled by gunmen.

An alliance of clan rebels ousted Siad Barre from Mogadishu in January 1991. He took refuge in his native southwestern region until the final showdown with Aideed.

The fighting has caused the famine which has already killed tens of thousands.