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[Published: Thursday March 12 2009]

Somali cabinet backs Sharia plan

Mogadishu, 11 March-(ANA)-The cabinet in Somalia has endorsed a proposal by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to implement Islamic law in the country.

Experts say the move aims to drain support for radical Islamist guerrillas who now control much of southern and central Somalia.

The bill is expected to go before parliament in the next few days.

The move came as the Somali president began a three-day visit to Burundi, which has peacekeepers in Somalia.

"The cabinet members discussed deeply on the issue regarding the Islamic Sharia law and the members unanimously approved full implementation," said Somali Information Minister Farhan Ali Mohamoud, according to AFP news agency.

"Islamic Sharia is the only option to get solutions for the problems in this country."

Last month, the president agreed to proposals by local and foreign religious leaders for a truce with hardline Islamists and the implementation of Sharia law.

Sheikh Sharif, a former moderate rebel leader, was elected in January following a UN-brokered peace process.

But hardline Islamist insurgent groups like al-Shabab have continued to battle the government and its allies. (ANA)

FA/ANA/11 March 2009---



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