Somali president calls on fighters for truce in Ramadan
Somalia's government has called on warring parties in the conflict-torn horn of Africa nation to stop fighting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Somalia's government has called on warring parties in the conflict-torn horn of Africa nation to stop fighting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a spokesman for the presidency said on Saturday.
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, a former fighter, said the ceasefire call was motivated by the need for peace during the religiously significant month.
"The president made this call since it is necessary to not stop people going to Islamic centres, worship Allah any time without fear, and we hope the opposition will accept it without condition," Abdulkadir Osman told Reuters by telephone.
Opposition groups said they would discuss the ceasefire call.
The President's Western-backed government has been facing a stubborn insurgency from the al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam rebels.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, every day during this month, Muslims around the abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours.
Every physically and mentally able adult Muslim is obliged to perform the absolute dawn-to-dusk abstinence from food and drink, and even sex, as the Koran says: "O! Ye who believe: Fasting is prescribed unto you as it was prescribed unto those before you that you may learn self-restraint."
Exempted from fasting are persons suffering from serious illnesses, women in their menstrual period, the elderly and children below 13, and travellers at least 40 miles away from home.
On Saturday clashes continued, as insurgents attacked a government-controlled Mogadishu checkpoint in the early hours.
"Al Shabaab men have attacked our positions in Ex-Control Afgoye (checkpoint). We repulsed the attackers and killed more than 10 men," Abdifatah Shaweye, deputy mayor of Banadir, told Reuters by telephone
Al Shabaab's information office denied the claim and said they took control of the base and killed nearly 10 soldiers from the government side.
Al Shabaab also said they had agreed to work together with Hizbul Islam fighters in the South Western region of Gedo.
About 100 people died last week in different parts of the country as pro-government militias and insurgents engaged in various battles.
Reuters Last Mod: 23 Ağustos 2009, 13:53