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Somali groups disown Djibouti peace plan


Three Somali factions are worried that an ongoing peace conference sponsored by Djibouti could lead to more violence in war-torn Somalia, they said in a joint statement sent to AFP here on Wednesday.

The head of the Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) Colonel Hassan Mohamed Nur Shatigudud, the leader of the autonomous northeast regional state of "Puntland" Abdullahi Yousuf Ahmed and Major General Aden Abdullahi Nur Gabyow of the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), said they feared "insecurity which might be triggered by the current Djibouti peace meeting."

"We hope the conference would not lead to further hostilities and renewed war in Somalia like the one held in Djibouti in 1991," the statement said, in reference to the Djibouti-sponsored meeting, during which north Mogadishu strongman Ali Mahdi Mohamed was elected interim president.

The ongoing conference at Arta, 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Djibouti, is initiated by Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh and is intended, as a first step toward re-establishing a parliament and government structures, which have been absent since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.

The three strongmen, who met in the Puntland capital Garowe for two days, urged the international community to support the formation of "building blocks", clan-based regional states, that could later form a "Federal Republic of Somalia."

RRA control the southern Bay and Bakol regions, while Puntland is a confederation of Darod sub-clans founded in 1998 to run north and central Somalia.

Gabyow forces lost the southern Lower Juba region capital of Kismayo in June last year to an alliance of rival factions.

Parts of southern Somalia are under occupation by clans from outside the region and, therefore, no meeting at a national level can take place until the occupational forces are withdrawn, the joint statement said.

Guelleh's initiative, the 13th attempt to restore a semblance of normality in Somalia, has received strong support from the international community but has been rejected outright by most of the country's warlords.

The plan hinges partly on talks among representatives of all kinds of Somalia's civilian and professional groups, rather than focussing on the Somali clan leaders and their militias.



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