Somalia's president marked the beginning of Ramadan Saturday by calling
for a truce with Islamic militants and talks to end the country's
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told VOA
Saturday he believes peace and stability are attainable through
dialogue, and he called on militants to lay down their weapons.
fragile transitional government is engaged in a fierce battle to regain
large parts of the country from Islamist militants led by the al-Shabab
In the capital of Mogadishu, heavy fighting between
government forces and insurgents has killed at least 100 people since
Thursday, many of them civilians.
Residents in the capital and
other strategic towns have been have been caught in clashes that
include intense firefights and mortar attacks.
In recent days,
the Somali government and pro-government militias have regained control
of two towns, Luuq and Bulahawa, both located in the southern portion
of Somalia near the Ethiopian border. But insurgents managed to repel
a government offensive in the town of Bula Burte, about 200 kilometers
north of the capital.
The insurgents are trying to overthrow the
moderate Islamic government and replace it with a hardline government
that will impose strict Islamic law.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.