Skip to comments.Somali warlords agree to disarm amid deadly gun battle
Posted on 01/12/2007 1:11:39 PM PST by NormsRevenge
MOGADISHU (AFP) - Key Somali warlords agreed to disarm their fighters and join the government, but the breakthrough was marred by a deadly gun battle during talks that brokered the accord.
Seven warlords, who controlled most of Mogadishu before it fell to Islamist fighters in June, signed the pact, even as forces loyal to one of them engaged in a firefight with security forces outside the talks' venue.
"The principal warlords who controlled parts of the Somali capital have decided to surrender their weapons to the transitional federal government," government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told AFP.
"They also agreed to instruct their militiamen to join the national army to be trained and the government has accepted," he said, adding that a joint committee to oversee the disarmament and integration would meet on Saturday.
The Islamists, some of whom are linked to Al-Qaeda, were driven from the capital and most of their other strongholds in the south over the past two weeks after Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia to support the weak government.
The defeat of the Islamists had fuelled fears of a power vacuum and a return to lawlessness and warlordism in the bullet-scarred Somali capital.
"This is a great opportunity for the government to enhance security," Dinari said of the warlords' decision. "They fully committed themselves to be a full part of the government."
He named the warlords involved as Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, Musa Sudi Yalahwo, Omar Mohamed Mohamoud, Issa Batan Alin, Abdi Hassan Awale Qeiybdid, Omar Habeb and Bashir Raghe Shirar.
All but Mohamoud were members of a now-defunct US-backed warlord alliance that had lost Mogadishu to the Islamists, sparking fears of a Taliban-style takeover of Somalia.
During the four hours of talks between the warlords and interim Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, militiamen loyal to Qanyare fought with security forces, killing at least five and wounding seven.
But Qanyare said the warlords would cooperate with the government, which they had initially rejected.
"All faction leaders in Mogadishu want to cooperate with the government," he told AFP, adding he was speaking on behalf of all the warlords.
"The shooting was an isolated incident, it was not planned and it is regrettable," Qanyare added.
Witnesses said the firefight was sparked when Qanyare's bodyguards insisted on accompanying him into the presidential palace, but were denied entry.
"They killed five of our fighters on the spot and wounded seven others, some of them seriously," Qanyare militia member Ali Abdulle Warsam told AFP. "They refused to allow our wounded to be taken to hospitals."
Qanyare was the internal security minister in the government but was sacked by Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi after Mogadishu fell to the Islamists. He remains a member of parliament.
Meanwhile, the international charity Oxfam said at least 70 people were killed this week in aerial bombardments of suspected Al-Qaeda militants and Somali Islamists in southern Somalia.
Citing reports from its member organizations in Somalia, Oxfam said some of the attacks, which began on Monday with an US air strike, had mistakenly hit nomadic pastoralists in the Afmadow area near the Kenyan border.
"Bombings have claimed the lives of 70 people in the district," Oxfam said in a statement released in the Kenyan capital. "These reports must be taken seriously."
The United States denies any civilians were killed in its sole air strike on Monday, which it says killed eight to 10 operatives affiliated with Al-Qaeda. It said subsequent Ethiopian raids may have caused civilian casualties.
Clan elders and residents of the region told AFP on Thursday that about 100 civilians and large numbers of livestock had been killed in air raids on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Also Friday, the United States called for an immediate "inclusive dialogue" between all the Somali parties, including moderate Islamists, and the quick deployment of peacekeepers to restore peace in the shattered nation.
The US ambassador to neighboring Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, called on the Somali leadership "to reach out to all segments of the Somali society" to end 16 years of anarchy that has engulfed the country.
Ranneberger also called for a rapid deployment of African peacekeepers to support the Somali government and pave the way for Addis Ababa to pull out its forces now facing low-level revolt in Mogadishu.
"Quick deployment of an African stabilization force will enable the rapid withdrawal of Ethiopian forces without creating a vacuum," he said, pledging US assistance in an editorial in Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper.
Somali Warlord MP Mohamed Qanyare Afrah(2ndR), Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi(3rdR), Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed(3rdL), Warlord MP Musa Sudi Yalahow(2ndL) and two unidentified people (R and L) attend a meeting inside the presidential palace in Mogadishu. Key Somali warlords agreed to disarm their fighters and join the government.(AFP/Shabelle)
Anyone who believes this is delusional.
Why does every Islamic type country have 'warlords'? What's the deal? Does every tribe have a 'warlord' Everytime I read an article about Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa (among others), the word 'warlord' creeps in. Is this the media's pc way of saying Islamist thugs?
Amazing what happens whe you go to war to win by killing the enemy instead of trying to win over the MSM and your opponents in Congress.
Warlord = head of a group of tribes that has guns.
rule of man. no rule of law.
The one second to the left is flashing a gang sign. It's a trap!
Thanks for the explanations. Why doesn't the media ever tell people that most of them are Islamist thugs as well? (You don't have to answer...it's just rhetorical question)