Somali warlords pledge peace

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The Independent Online
MOGADISHU (Reuter) - Somalia's two main rival warlords embraced yesterday at a peace rally on the 'green line' that cuts through the capital and said they would work to unite their devastated country.

Ali Mahdi Mohamed, Somalia's self-styled interim president, and General Mohamed Farah Aideed led more than 10,000 people waving branches as tokens of peace to celebrate their agreement to lift the Beirut-style dividing line between their forces.

But a gunfight in which United States soldiers shot dead a Somali gunman showed lawlessness still stalks Mogadishu's streets. The shooting erupted after three Somali gunmen held up a television camera crew in sight of a marine post at the entrance to the US-controlled airport. A soundman was hit in the arm by flying shrapnel.

US forces established the last of eight principal bridgeheads for their famine relief operation in Somalia. About 260 Canadian and US troops in helicopters swooped on the dirt airstrip at Belet Huen, 250 miles north-west of Mogadishu, early yesterday.

(Photograph omitted)