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Somalia calls for international help

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has called on the international community for help as his embattled government fights radical Islamist groups that are threatening to take over the country.

President Ahmed warned that if Somalia falls into the hands of the al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents, the radical Islamists will use Somalia as a base to launch attacks across the globe. Sheikh Ahmed made his comments at the funerals of three ministers who were killed by a suicide bomb in Mogadishu on Thursday.

The devastating suicide attack at a graduation ceremony killed 24 people including four ministers; the education, higher education, health and sports ministers all died in the blast. President Ahmed said the attack was carried out by the al-Qaeda-linked Shebab movement and its Hezb al-Islam allies.

In a letter to Britain's Times newspaper, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke called for an international peace plan similar to US President Barack Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan. The prime ministers says it will be cheaper and far more effective than the current international efforts to combat Somali piracy.

Somalia has lacked a functioning government since 1991 and Prime Minister Sharmarke's UN-backed government only controls a small part of the capital Mogadishu. Western security agencies say Somalia has become a safe haven for militants and they are using the country to plot attacks across the region.

Radical Islamic groups have taken control of Southern and Central Somalia and have instituted strict sharia law. The Islamists have already started chopping off the hands of teenage thieves and stoning adulterers to death.
© Ecoterra -

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