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Prominent reconciliation leaders killed

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Several leaders in Somalia working toward reconciliation and peace have been killed as the ongoing rebel violence in the country continues to escalate.

Abdullahi Abdi Egaal, a member of the National Reconciliation Commission, Hassan Mayow Hassan of Radio Shabelle and Ismail Hassan Timir, Somalian deputy minister for reconciliation, have all been killed by militants since Dec. 27, the United Nations reported.

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All three were involved in the increasingly uphill battle to bring peaceful reconciliation in Somalia, a country mired in violence and which has not had a functioning government since 1991. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, U.N. secretary-general special representative to Somalia, has called for an end to impunity in the country and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

"This is a brazen disregard for international law and should no longer be tolerated by the Somali people," Ould-Abdallah said in a statement.

"The perpetrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They should not be allowed to continue to perpetuate the lawlessness of the country."

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