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Somali Clan Announces Ceasefire

23 March 2007

A ceasefire is reported to have been reached in Somalia between a powerful clan and Ethiopian troops as fighting continues Friday in the capital city of Mogadishu.

Elders with the Hawiye clan say both sides agreed to remove their forces away from the front lines.

Members of the Hawiye clan are part of the Islamist insurgents who have been battling Ethiopian troops allied with Somali government forces. The elders say the ceasefire also pertains to the Somali forces.

The fighting in Mogadishu this week has left at least 25 people dead and hundreds more wounded. Scores of residents have been forced to flee their homes to escape the violence.

The United Nations has condemned the violence, and called on both sides to put down their arms.

The United States has warned of an al-Qaida presence in Somalia, and has assisted Somali and Ethiopian forces chasing suspected terrorists in the country.

The commander of an African Union peacekeeping mission in Uganda is urging African countries to speed up their deployment of troops to Somalia. So far, only Uganda has troops in the country, but several other African nations have pledged to contribute to the mission.

The Somali interim government has been struggling to assert its authority since defeating the rival Islamist movement in December with the help of Ethiopian forces.

The government says the al-Qaida terrorist network has chosen a man named Aden Hashi Ayro to lead Islamist forces in Mogadishu.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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