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Somali clan leaders divided over Djibouti peace initiative


Leaders of one of Somalia's main clans were divided Friday over whether to support a bid by President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti to restore civil authority in the anarchic Horn of Africa country.

Hawiye clan elders and politicians, including north Mogadishu warlord Ali Mahdi Mohamed, an influencial Hawiye leader, met here on Thursday and resolved to support Guelleh's peace initiative.

"The meeting of Hawiye subclans fully accepted the proposals of Djibouti governmernt to host the Somali conference which will come up with a transitional government for Somalia," Ali Mahdi told AFP.

"Time to wait for individuals is over as most Somalis appreciate Guelleh's effort to end anarchy and civil strife in Somalia," he added.

But the meeting was boycotted by other key Hawiye faction leaders, including Hussein Mohamed Aidid, the south Mogadishu strongman, Osman Hassan Ali "Atto", Mohamed Qanyare Afrah and Musa Sudi Yalahow, all warlords controlling different parts of Mogadishu.

Respected Hawiye clan elder Ali Ugas Abdulle also failed to attend the meeting, which took place in Ramadan Hotel at the "greenline" dividing north and south Mogadishu.

The meeting was opened by Imam Mohamud Immam Omar, the Abgal subclan traditional ruler.

Those attending urged Somali other leaders to take part in a peace conference in Djibouti on Tuesday.

The peace conference which was to convene in Djibouti last week to discuss Guelleh's plan was postponed to next Tuesday, apparently because of insufficiently representative attendance.

The peace plan has widespread support in the international community, but among the warlords only Ali Mahdi has so far agreed to take part.

Guelleh's plan is aimed at setting up a Somali government and parliament in the country, which as been without central authority since 1991 when president Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled.



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