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Somali Government, Islamists Agree to Truce


Somalia's president says he has accepted the terms of a truce negotiated by local Islamic elders between the government and an Islamic insurgent group.

Speaking to reporters Saturday in the capital, Mogadishu, President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed said he had met with leaders from the dominant Hawiye clan who had also held talks with hardline Islamic groups in the nation.

President Sharif did not discuss details of the truce, but said he agreed to introduce strict, Islamic Sharia law into the country. He said he welcomed the efforts of the elders and said he hoped all differences can be worked out peacefully.

The truce comes after a violent week in Somalia. At least 30 people were killed in the capital Tuesday and Wednesday in clashes between Islamist insurgents and government and African Union forces.

Somalia's new government, led by President Sharif, has relocated to Mogadishu this week after working for several weeks in Djibouti.

Also this week, fighters from the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab took control of the town of Hudur, northwest of Mogadishu, Wednesday after a fierce gun battle. At least 17 people were reported killed.

The Islamic Party, a newly-formed alliance of four opposition factions, took responsibility for the attacks in Mogadishu this week. The group is allied with the insurgent group al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab controls large areas of southern Somalia, while the government controls only parts of Mogadishu. Al-Shabab says it wants to end corruption and insecurity, and impose Islamic law.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.

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