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Thousands Rally for Peace in Somalia


Thousands of people have staged a rally in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, calling for peace and for the rule of Islamic law.

The crowd gathered Thursday at the city's main football stadium, carrying banners denouncing violence and calling for the government to enforce Sharia (or Islamic law).

Somali clerics addressed the crowd, urging them to work for peace, and saying Islamic law is the only solution.

Last week, Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed accepted the terms of a truce negotiated by local Islamic elders between the government and an Islamist insurgent group.

Under the terms of that agreement, President Sharif agreed to introduce Sharia law.

That truce came after a violent week in Somalia. At least 30 people were killed in the capital as Islamist insurgents fought government and African Union forces.

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

The Islamic Party, a newly-formed alliance of four opposition factions, took responsibility for the attacks in Mogadishu. 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.

Somalia has been mired in chaos and conflict since the fall of last stable government in 1991.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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