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Terrorism & Security

War-torn Somalia braces for fresh violence amid shaky peace accord

Failed talks and the killing of yet another aid worker highlight the growing humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

By David Montero / August 19, 2008

In yet another fragile peace accord in Somalia, the government and opposition parties yesterday announced an agreement designed to halt months of escalating fighting. But the war-torn country, an Al Qaeda front in Africa, braced for fresh violence as Islamist insurgents vowed to continue fighting and executed a United Nations aid worker.

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According to the official Chinese news service Xinhua, government and opposition representatives met on Monday to discuss a peace agreement.

Joint committees from the Somali transitional government and the opposition coalition Monday met in Djibouti for the first time and formally signed an 11-point communiqué "to help start effective implementation" of the peace agreement, reports from Djibouti said.
In the communiqué received here Tuesday, the two committees, who met in Djibouti from August 16-18, said they adopted "Terms of Reference for both Committees" and discussed practical means of implementing the Djibouti peace agreement initiated on June 9, which called for a cessation of hostilities effective 30 days from signing of the agreement and the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia within 120 days after a UN force is implemented.

The peace accord, like many others, was not expected to hold. Promptly reacting to yesterday's deal, a faction of Islamist insurgents vowed to fight on, reports Bloomberg.

Somali Islamic insurgents fighting a United Nations-backed transitional government have pledged to unite rival factions to drive Ethiopian troops from the east African nation, a spokesman for the rebel group said....
"We will continue fighting against the Ethiopian forces who invaded our homeland aggressively until they withdraw from our country," [Abdilkadir Ali Omar, the deputy chairman of the Islamic Courts Union, said].

Thousands of Ethiopian troops have been on the ground in Somalia since 2006, deployed to fight off Islamist insurgents trying to seize the capital. But neither the Ethiopians nor a June peace accord has stemmed the violence, the Associated Press reported.

Somalia's government struck the deal in June with a relatively moderate faction of the country's Islamic insurgency. But Somalia's more hard-line opposition leaders never took part in the agreement, which has had little effect on the ground.

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