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Thousands Mourn Late Somali Warlord

Thousands of weeping mourners lined the streets of south Mogadishu Friday afternoon as the body of Mohamed Farah Aidid, who defied U.N. peacekeeping forces three years ago and ultimately frustrated efforts to quell Somalia’s civil war, was moved from a mosque and buried at his home.

The powerful faction leader, 62, died late Thursday of battle wounds suffered last week. He died at his home in Mogadishu, the war-battered capital of the East African country that experienced one of Africa’s worst famines three years ago.

Mogadishu was reported to be calm late this evening, as leaders of one of the factions that was combating Aidid called for an immediate cease-fire in the country’s five-year civil war among clan-based militias. Leaders of other clans throughout Somalia had repeatedly criticized Aidid for shunning negotiations aimed at reestablishing a central government in the country of 8 million people.

The civil war and the famine that it exacerbated have killed at least 350,000 Somalis, sent thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Kenya and left the country without a central government.

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