14 May 2009

Somalia: President Signs Shari'ah Bill As National Law

The president of Somalia's interim government, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, has officially signed Shari'ah into law as the Horn of Africa country's national legislation, Radio Garowe reports.

President Sheikh Sharif told a press conference at the Villa Somalia presidential compound on Wednesday afternoon that he is unaware of why armed groups oppose the law.

"This is the first government ever [in Somalia] that voted to rule under Shari'ah law and I do not know why groups oppose it except to destroy the country," the Somali leader said.

He ordered government organs to implement Shari'ah law "properly" and vowed to appoint legal experts to nullify differences between Shari'ah law and the secular constitution of the Transitional Federal Government, under which he swore an oath at his election as Somali president in January.

The Somali parliament voted in April to ratify Shari'ah law, with the hope that the vote would ease the Islamist-led insurgency that has destroyed Mogadishu since 2007.

Islamist rebels have attacked government forces in a violent campaign since last week, killing more than 120 people and wounding 350 others.

Somalia has lacked an effective national government since 1991 and President Sheikh Sharif's interim government is the 15th attempt to restore national order since.

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