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Somali Government, Opposition Figures Sign Ceasefire Deal


Somalia's government has signed a deal with opposition groups to implement a ceasefire and begin a withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from the country.

The deal was signed Sunday in Djibouti, where the United Nations has been mediating talks between the government and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

However, the radical Islamist groups responsible for much of the violence in Somalia are not part of the deal. Those groups have said they will not sign any agreement until Ethiopia withdraws all of its troops from Somalia.

Today's deal requires Ethiopia to begin moving its troops from the capital, Mogadishu and Beledweyne on November 21, and complete a second phase of withdrawal in 120 days.

In return, the opposition is to maintain a ceasefire.

At least three people were killed today when a roadside bomb exploded in the northwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Insurgents have been gaining strength as they battle the government, Ethiopian troops, and a small African Union peacekeeping force.

Ethiopia sent thousands of troops into Somalia in 2006 to support the government and fight the Islamists.

The government and the ARS signed an initial ceasefire deal in Djibouti in June. But that agreement has so far failed to end the violence plaguing the country.

Somalia has not had a stable central government since 1991.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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