Somalian parliament elects moderate Islamist president

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January 31, 2009 06:36

Somalia's parliament has elected a moderate Islamist leader as the country's new president. Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed now has the elusive task of stabilizing a country wracked by violence and anarchy for nearly 20 years. He was elected early Saturday. But the Western-backed government wields little control in Somalia - just a few blocks of the capital, Mogadishu, where African Union peacekeepers patrol. An Islamic insurgent group called al-Shabab, who say they don't recognize the government, have taken over most of Somalia. The US considers al-Shabab a terror organization with links to al-Qaida.


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