Top Somali Islamic leader has turned himself in

January 22, 2007 12:53


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One of the top leaders of Somalia's Islamic movement has turned himself over to US and Kenyan authorities and is under their protection in Nairobi, officials said Monday. Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who has been described by a US diplomat as a moderate who could play a role in reconciling Somali factions, crossed into Kenya and was flown immediately to Nairobi, a Kenyan security official said on condition of anonymity because the operation was supposed to be secret. Ahmed was under US protection at a top hotel, a Somali official said, also asking for anonymity for the same reason. A US Embassy spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment. Ahmed was apparently afraid for his life following his decision to leave Somalia, where remnants of his Council of Islamic Courts were being hunted by Ethiopian troops and Somali government forces. It was not immediately clear when he turned himself in.

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