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Somali Gov't Offers Amnesty to Insurgents in Mogadishu

Somali government soldiers patrol in Mogadishu's Bakara market, August 8, 2011

The Somali government has offered a general amnesty to insurgents in the capital, Mogadishu, following the withdrawal of the Islamist group al-Shabab.

The government announced the offer Tuesday, three days after most al-Shabab fighters left the city. A statement said the amnesty is for insurgent fighters remaining in Mogadishu who give themselves up and renounce violence.

The government also said it is moving to establish security in the capital and will not tolerate what it called attempts by other forces to occupy districts formerly run by al-Shabab.

African Union peacekeepers, who helped the government drive out the insurgents, have called for an extra 3,000 troops to secure the capital. The force currently has about 9,000 troops provided by Uganda and Burundi.

Al-Shabab once controlled nearly all of Mogadishu but had steadily lost ground in recent months to government and AU forces.

Analysts have warned the insurgents are splintered, not defeated, and will likely cause further problems for the government.

Al-Shabab continues to control large sections of southern and central Somalia. The government amnesty offer does not appear to extend to insurgents in those regions.