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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Somali clerics slam fresh raids on AMISOM

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 10:34:21 GMT | PressTV

Somali religious leaders are seeking arrest warrants for rebel fighters who launch attacks on government forces and African peacekeepers.

Clerics on Thursday urged arrest warrants for armed groups that attack Somali soldiers and the African Union's mission, known as AMISOM, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The demand came after hundreds of clerics gathered in the capital city, Mogadishu, where they called an end to the assaults against President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's nascent government.

The clerics also said an investigating team would be formed soon to look into the deaths of scores of civilians, including women and children, in such attacks and bring to justice those behind the murders.

The former opposition United Islamic Courts (UIC) leader Sheikh Hassan Daahir Aweys lashed at the groups who have reportedly claimed responsibly for the raids.

He accused them of breaching an earlier agreement to stop attacks on government and AMISOM troops for 120 days, vowing the assailants would be punished.

A new wave of insurgency broke out on Tuesday after a coalition of Somali rebels launched simultaneous attacks against government bases in Hodon and against African Union peacekeepers in southern Mogadishu.

The clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday left nearly 60 people dead and wounded scores of others, mostly caught in the crossfire. Meanwhile, hundreds of people have escaped from their homes in the conflicts zone for the fear of their lives.

The attacks on soldiers loyal to Somalia's new government occurred despite widespread support from major Somali factions for President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Somali lawmakers convened in Djibouti on January 31 and elected the former leader of the Alliance for Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) as president to succe ed embattled Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who failed to end conflicts in the violence-ravaged nation.

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