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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 12:16 GMT
Somali factions resume peace talks
Warlord Musa Sidi Yalahow (l) and Prime Minister Hassan Abshir
The international community wants Somalis to stop fighting
Somali faction leaders are meeting in the Kenyan town of Eldoret in order to draw up a new federal constitution for the war-torn country.

Their first task will be to decide who should sit on the committees which will draft the new basic law over the next few months.

Last week, delegates agreed to stop fighting for the duration of the peace talks.

But police sources say that 10 people, including businessmen and doctors, have been kidnapped in the capital, Mogadishu, in recent days.

Freelance gunmen

Abdullahi Hajji from the BBC's Somali Service says that the choice of committee members might be difficult, as just 75 people are required from the more than 600 who initially attended the talks.

He says the 75 seats will be allocated along clan lines.

Large crowd in Mogadishu, welcoming last week's truce
Somalis are also desperate for peace

The peace talks have the backing of the international community, which has threatened to impose sanctions on groups opposing an agreement.

The BBC's Hassan Barise in Mogadishu says that freelance gunmen have started setting up illegal checkpoints around the main markets, where they extort money from public transport buses.

On Sunday, at least four people were wounded after gunmen attempted to abduct a doctor in south Mogadishu.

Sources close to the gunmen told Hassan Barise that the attack was in revenge for the kidnapping of a Syrian businessman by people from the same clan as the doctor.

The talks are the latest in more than a dozen failed attempts to restore peace to Somalia since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in January 1991.

Under last week's agreement, the signatories reportedly agreed to observe a truce; pave the way for a national federal government; fight terrorism; improve the safety of foreign aid workers; and adhere to the outcome of the conference.

Clan fighting

Somalia has had no effective central government since President Mohamed Siad Barre was deposed in 1991.

Mogadishu
The transitional government has little control outside Mogadishu

The transitional government was established in August 2000, but has little control outside Mogadishu.

Fighting between rival clans and warlords has plagued Somalia and all previous ceasefires have collapsed.

The latest agreement has the backing of Somalia's neighbours, the United States, the European Union and the Arab League.

Talks are planned to continue until the end of the year.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Abdullahi Hajji on BBC Network Africa
"It will take a long time"

Politics

Terrorist haven?

RESOURCES
See also:

24 Oct 02 | Africa
16 Oct 02 | Africa
24 Dec 01 | Africa
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