Posted by: becketfund | January 31, 2009

Somalia: Sheikh Sharif Ahmed Elected President

MOGADISHU – Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was elected president on January 31, Reuters reported on January 31. The moderate Islamist leader won the presidency in an all-night parliament session in neighboring Djibouti on January 31 and vowed to end conflict in the Horn of Africa nation, make peace with neighbors and rule with honesty and justice. Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca, an Islamist group, said they would support Ahmed but warned him not to reach out to their foe al Shabaab, which is seeking to impose a strict version of Islamic law and is on Washington’s list of foreign terrorists. President Ahmed has said he will try to correct what he sees as the misinterpretation of Islam by some insurgents and will welcome fighters in a new national security force, as long as they are committed to peace. Not all in Somalia are happy with the election results. Warsame Abdi Samatar, information minister for Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland, told Reuters that “Sharif’s election was illegitimate and we shall never recognize him and his government.” Some politicians from Puntland said they interpreted the comments as a warning to the new president to make sure the semi-autonomous region is given senior government positions.

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