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Somalia's new leader visits capital

SOMALIA'S new president arrived in the Somali capital yesterday for the first time since his election in neighboring Djibouti a week ago.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed did not speak publicly at the airport in Mogadishu and went straight to the presidential palace under the guard of government soldiers, Islamic militiamen loyal to him and African Union peacekeepers.

Hundreds of people lined the road from the airport to welcome him, some holding photos of Ahmed.

Ahmed is a moderate Islamist who was elected president on January 31. He is a key leader of the Council of Islamic Courts that ran Mogadishu for six months in 2006 before Ethiopian soldiers drove them from power.

But the government he has been elected to lead wields little control in Somalia.


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