Somali insurgents dismiss UN-mediated truce

July 30th, 2008 | by addis portal |

MOGADISHU (AFP) — A second armed Islamist group in Somalia has rejected a UN-mediated peace agreement, and vowed Wednesday to continue fighting.

Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, spokesman for the armed Islamist group Shabab, told reporters the accord signed in Djibouti last month is “null and void”.

“The agreement of Djibouti will never lead to a sustainable peace in this country. What we are fighting for is a new chapter for Somalia,” Robow told reporters by phone from a secret hideout in the war-riven country.

“This agreement will not affect what is happening on the ground. We will be satisfied with nothing less than Sharia law and the flames will continue burning until it is fully put into practice,” he added.

The agreement was signed by Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Aden and the interim government, but was immediately rejected by hardline cleric Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.

The June agreement has divided the Somali opposition group, Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), with Aweys last week proclaiming he had taken over its leadership from Ahmed.

Aweys and Ahmed fell out over Ahmed’s decision to participate in the peace talks seeking an end to fighting in Somalia that has raged since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Islamist fighters have carried on a deadly insurgency, mainly in the capital Mogadishu, since their movement was toppled by Ethiopian and Somali government forces in early 2007.

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