Somali Gov’t Offers Amnesty to Insurgents in Mogadishu

Posted August 9th, 2011 at 7:55 am (UTC-5)
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The Somali government has offered a general amnesty to insurgents in the capital, Mogadishu, following the withdrawal of the Islamist group al-Shabab.

The government announced the offer in a statement Tuesday, three days after most al-Shabab fighters left the city.

It said the amnesty would be extended to insurgent fighters remaining in Mogadishu who give themselves up and renounce violence.

The government also urged residents to work with security forces to maintain law and order.

Al-Shabab once controlled nearly all of Mogadishu but had steadily lost ground in recent months to government and African Union forces.

There are reports that some al-Shabab fighters remain in the capital. The city has experienced scattered, small-scale fighting since Sunday.

Government and AU troops renewed their offensive last week, in an effort to create space for aid workers trying to help famine-stricken Somalis. Al-Shabab had banned most aid groups from its territory.

An al-Shabab spokesman has said the pullout was a change in tactics, and vowed the group would return.

The insurgents still control large sections of southern and central Somalia, and analysts have warned the group is not defeated.