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East African Countries Impose Travel Ban, Asset Freeze on Somali Warlords


A group of seven East African nations has imposed sanctions on Somali warlords blamed for the anarchy in their country.

Members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) agreed Tuesday to impose bans on the warlords' travel and banking activities.

Group leader Kenya imposed its own sanctions last week, saying the warlords have destabilized Somalia.

The group says it will lift the sanctions on any warlord who surrenders and agrees to open dialogue with Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government.

The sanctions appear aimed at strengthening the Somali government, which has not been able to assert its authority in the Horn of Africa country.

Warlords have ruled much of Somalia for the past 15 years, but recently lost control of the capital, Mogadishu, to fighters loyal to a union of Islamic courts. Ministers discussed the power shift at today's meeting, which took place in Nairobi.

Yemen has offered to mediate talks between the government and Islamic authorities now in charge of the capital. The talks broke down this week after the Islamic Courts Union objected to the government's plan to invite in foreign peacekeepers.

Some warlords have vowed to regroup and defeat the Islamists, whom they accuse of harboring al-Qaida terrorists.

U.S. officials have refused to confirm or deny accusations that they fund an alliance of warlords that lost the battle for Mogadishu.

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