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Leading opposition figure returns to Somalia

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Leading figures in ARS-Eritrea said Aweys has come back to Somalia to promote reconciliation among Islamist factions, reports Garowe Online, the website of a leading radio station in northern Somalia.

"I will meet with anyone concerned about Somalia and my trip [to Somalia] is not influenced by foreign countries," Sheikh Aweys told Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV, although he did not specify whether he plans to meet with President Sheikh Sharif.
Sheikh Ismail Haji Addow, a senior member of ARS-Eritrea, told reporters that Sheikh Aweys would meet with meet with different sections of society in Mogadishu to promote reconciliation among Islamist factions.
"We [ARS-Eritrea] have moved back to Mogadishu, but we will keep an office in Eritrea," Sheikh Addow said, while underscoring that Sheikh Aweys' main task would be to reconcile factions within the
muqawama

, or the resistance movement that became popular during the Ethiopian army's two-year intervention in south-central Somalia.

However, Aweys declared that reconciliation will not be possible until the African Union Peacekeeping Force (AMISOM) leaves the country. Aweys views the African force as foreign occupiers, reports Reuters.

"Let AMISOM leave then we shall have talks with our deceived friends, government officials," Aweys told opposition supporters in the Somali capital.
"AMISOM is not a peacekeeping force ... They are bacteria in Somalia. Somalia has not yet reached peaceful agreement. So be patient. We are left with little time to fight and achieve our Islamic objective," he told hundreds of supporters.
A 4,300-strong AU peacekeeping mission in the Somali capital has faced near-daily attacks. Analysts say the insurgents are preparing to step up assaults on peacekeepers there.
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