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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

SOMALIA: Conditions attached to faction leader's release

NAIROBI, 29 January 2003 (IRIN) - A civil society member attending the Eldoret peace talks has said he will withdraw charges against a faction leader, whose supporters kicked him and attacked him with a lead pipe, if certain conditions are met.

Prof Muhammad Abdi 'Gandhi' told IRIN he had been approached by some faction leaders, who asked him to drop the charges against Mawlid Ma'ane, who was arrested for instigating the attack.

He said the leaders had to meet three conditions in writing before he would consider dropping the charges. Firstly, they had to apologise for the attack; secondly, they had to promise that such an incident would never happen again; thirdly, "they have to acknowledge that civil society groups have the independent right to participate in the conference without consent from the factions".

Faction leaders have been trying to limit the number of civil society delegates in the overall delegates list, and to remove the five delegates to the 23-member leaders' committee, a Somali source told IRIN.

Gandhi said the leaders had already accepted the terms orally, but "we are waiting for them to put this in writing".

"The attack on Gandhi goes beyond Mawlid," a Somali source told IRIN. "He did not act alone, but was, I believe, acting at the behest of others."

Gandhi said he had received 11 threatening telephone calls prior to the attack on Monday.

Meanwhile, Mawlid Ma'ane and his supporters were brought to court on Wednesday, and released on bail, a source close to the Eldoret talks told IRIN. Their case would be mentioned again on 3 February.

Themes: (IRIN) Conflict


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