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Africa Union Rejects Somali Insurgent Leader’s Truce Call

Africa Union Rejects Somali Insurgent Leader’s Truce Call

Africa Union Rejects Somali Insurgent Leader’s Truce Call

The African Union has rejected call for a truce among Somalia's insurgent groups. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, leader of Hizbul Islam rebels called on al-Shabab insurgent group to agree to a ceasefire to end the ongoing clashes between their fighters in Kismayo.

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Aweys claimed the clashes could weaken the insurgents against President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government.

But al-Shabab has refused Awey's olive branch gesture vowing instead to continue its insurgency to overthrow the government.

Ambassador Nicholas Bwakira,the African Union's special representative to Somalia said that the insurgent leader's call for a ceasefire is irresponsible and criminal.

"After the suicide bomb which killed 17 of our troops, he (Aweys) has called for more women, more children suicide bombers. Therefore I can only say Sheik Aweys is making irresponsible statement," Bwakira said.

He said the insurgent leader could face criminal prosecution.

"(The statement) could become a criminal course and such course could lead him to an International Criminal Court," he said.

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Bwakira dismissed the insurgent leader's truce call.

"Calling for action together with Shabab does not concern me. What would have been a positive act would have been to say we want to walk with the government, which is internationally, recognized, which is a legitimate government," Bwakira said.

He encouraged the insurgents to negotiate with the government to end the violence.

"The Djibouti agreement does not exclude anyone… anyone who wants to join is most welcome. But there would be a time where we say we have now closed the door. For the time being the door is still open," he said.

Bwakira said the international community would have the last word on when the negotiation should end.

"The closing of the door would be decided upon by the international community. It is not for us alone as African Union to make the decision… I can tell you that a time will come when we will say we have waited, now time is over," Bwakira said.

Both hard line Islamic insurgent groups have refused to recognize the government, promising to violently overthrow the administration and implement the strictest form of the Sharia law.

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