Warlord Recognizes Transitional Somali Government
One of the warlords in the Somali capital on Tuesday pledged to support the transitional government of President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan and said he was joining the new administration.
Somalia has from 1991 been ruled by rival warlords, and almost all rejected moves towards national reconciliation that led to the setting-up of an interim civilian government in August.
The warlord, Hussein Haji Bod, said he would work with the fledgling government to bring lasting peace to the east African country, in a statement also signed by Salat and Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh.
Bod, the leader of the little-known Somali Unification Party, told AFP that he would initially not have any official post in the government.
Salat's administration was set up after a reconciliation conference held in thw town of Arta, in neighboring Djibouti.
The conference, held under the auspices of President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, was attended by thousands of Somali delegates but rejected by most warlords.
After months of talks, Salat was elected interim president in late August by a transitional national assembly whose seats were filled by a protracted process of horse-trading between Somalia's main clans.
Bod's decision to support the government is being seen as a significant move towards internal political reconciliation.
Salat's government has been criticized for relying too much on external support and ignoring internal conflicts.
The other main warlords in Mogadishu -- Hussein Mohammed Aidid, Osman Hassan Ali "Atto" and Mohamed Qanyare Afrah -- are still opposed to Salat's leadership and have ordered their fighters not to join the police force the new government is setting up.
One of the few warlords who had initially backed Salat, Mohamed Nur Shatigudud, who controls the south-central town of Baidoa with the support of Ethiopia, has withdrawn his support.
Somalia has lacked an effective central government since the fall of president Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991.
The intervening years have seen the collapse of most infrastructures as various clan-based warlords battled for control of territory and resources -- MOGADISHU (AFP)
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