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UN official urges Somalia leader to reach out to dissident groups

Sunday September 5 2010

United Nations Under Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe has urged Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed (above) to reach out to dissidents and to focus on governing the country. Photo/FILE

United Nations Under Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe has urged Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed (above) to reach out to dissidents and to focus on governing the country. Photo/FILE 

By XINHUA

Nairobi, Sunday

A senior UN official has called on the transitional government of Somalia to reach out to other dissidents in order to strengthen its authority in the Horn of Africa nation.

The UN Under secretary-general for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, who visited Mogadishu last week also expressed his solidarity with the people of Somalia.

Pascoe, who was accompanied by the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga, met President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and Cabinet ministers at the presidential compound in Mogadishu.

He encouraged the leaders of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to reach out to other groups and to focus on governing the country. “It is crucial to show the long suffering people of Somalia that the government can deliver basic services,” said Pascoe.

“The international community is very interested in supporting the TFG, but the Government itself needs to do more and learn to work as a cohesive team.”

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Pascoe and Mahiga also met the Force Commander and members of African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (Amisom) and visited the Amisom hospital where they witnessed the AU peacekeeping troops treating Somali civilians.

The Under-Secretary-General praised the work of the AU forces deployed in Somalia since 2008 in an effort to help stabilise the government and commended the UN for providing them with logistic support. At the same time, he called for more troops as well as financial and logistical support for the force.

Pascoe has been on a regional trip aimed at shoring up peace and stabilisation efforts in Somalia. He attended a meeting of the Africa Peace Envoys in Cairo, and travelled from there to Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia where he met with heads of state and governments, diplomats, humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN aid agencies.

More suspects arrested

Elsewhere, more suspects have been arrested in connection with the July 11 bomb blast in the Uganda’s capital Kampala. The suspects were seized in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania, Ugandan prosecutors said.

A total of 34 suspects, including two recently arrested suspects in Kenya and Somalia, were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Deus Ssejjemba at Nakawa Magistrate Court.

Joan Kagezi, the Senior Principal State Attorney told the court that two more suspects, who were arrested in Tanzania, were being held in Kenya.

“The suspects are being interrogated by Ugandan investigation team in collaboration with their Kenya counterparts. They will be transferred to Uganda in two days,” said Kagezi.

All the suspects were charged with murder, attempted murder and terrorism. Out of the 34, four Kenyans were sent back to police cells for further investigations while the rest were remanded to Luzira Maximum Prison until September 16 when they return to court.