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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Somali warlord 'to rejoin talks'
General Morgan
General Morgan has a fearsome reputation
A Somali warlord, whose advance had raised fears of renewed violence, has agreed to rejoin peace talks in Kenya, regional mediators say.

General Morgan has agreed to end his forces' move towards the port town of Kismayo after mediators settled his debts at a five-star hotel, they say.

The bill was run up in Kenya, before he left the talks last month, to become the only major warlord not in Kenya.

Somalia has been without a national government for 13 years.

Rival factions have been battling for territory and control of strategic locations, such as ports.

Air taxi

The warlord, whose full name is Mohammed Hersi Si'iid Hersi, was nicknamed the Butcher of Hargeisa, after being accused of murdering scores of innocent civilians during fighting in the Somaliland capital.

The head of the regional mediation team, Kenya's Ambassador Bethwell Kiplagat, said he would send a plane to take Gen Morgan to Kenya, if he revealed his location and found a suitable landing place.

The mediators from the regional body, Igad, had threatened sanctions against Gen Morgan, if he remained outside the peace process.

However, the head of the Juba Valley Alliance, which was being threatened by Gen Morgan, Barre Hiiraale, is still reported to be in Somalia, marshalling his troops in case of attack.

Mr Hiiraale says he is still committed to the Kenyan peace process.

The new parliament, inaugurated at the Kenyan talks, will meet next week to elect its speaker, officials say.

Its next job will be to elect a president.

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