Somali elders agree to vote on new constitution
After two months of constitutional setbacks, traditional elders have agreed to vote on the new constitution. Many politicians say the approval by the traditional leaders is a historic step.
The National Constituent Assembly, which is composed of 825 Somali traditional elders, was due to meet in Mogadishu for seven days, starting Wednesday.
It is expected to ratify the new Somali permanent constitution and will pave the way for the election of a new parliament and president.
The elders have already been through some lengthy wrangling over the number of representatives in the new parliament.
However UN special envoy to Somalia Augustine Mahiga has intervened and the number of people in the parliament has been set at 275.
Elders also met with transitional President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas to try to resolve issues that delayed the meeting of the elders.
Both Sharif and Gaas said they are optimistic that the transitional period of consultation will end on time, despite setbacks and missed deadlines.
Meanwhile in the southern city of Merka, the Al-Shebab Islamist group executed three men they accused of being American and British intelligence agents.
The three have been under investigation by Al-Shebab since the beginning of the year, according to the judge who sentenced them to death on Monday.
They were executed by firing squad in the outskirts of Merka.
According to local sources, people were forced to watch the executions.
The sources say the men were accused of being behind the killing of Al-Shebab agent and foreign fighter Bilal el Berjawi earlier this year in Elasha Biyaha.
The three men executed were: Issaq Omar Hassan, Yasin Usman Ahmed, accused of working with the CIA, and Mukhtar Ibrahim Sheikh, accused of working with the British intelligence agency.