- Somali’s opposition hardliner, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, has landed at the country’s small airstrip 50 kilometers from the capital Mogadishu today, reports have confirmed.
Mr Aweys who is in Somalia for the first time in two years and accused of having al-Qaeda links was residing in Eritrea's capital, Asmara, after Ethiopian troops ousted him and his supporters from strongholds in southern Somalia and Mogadishu.
Mr Aweys led the Islamist movement, Islamic Courts Union that took over the capital and much of the south in 2006 before being chased out of power.
Mr Aweys' faction of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia is a member of the Islamic Party, which is opposed to the government of President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed. He and the current Somali president had worked alongside one another in the Islamic Courts Union.
According to a statement posted on the internet, Mr Aweys will as of today operate from Mogadishu, but the group will maintain an office in Asmara, saying he came for the reconciliation among the insurgency groups and to help efforts to restore law and order in Somalia.
The UN Security Council resolution has designated Mr Aweys a terrorist, but he has repeatedly denied having ties to international terrorists or condoning any terrorism activities to distabilise Somalia.
Somalia which has not had an effective national government since 1991 when militias ousted the then dictator Siad Barre, has seen more attacks on government forces and unarmed civilians.
The recent election of president Sharif Sheik Ahmed has sparked a row with government forces and radical al Shabab waging attack on government demanding the re-establishment of the very strict Shariah court in the Muslim dominated Horn of Africa state.
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