First Published: 2006-08-01

 
Islamists gain ground in central Somalia
 

Militiamen from Hawiye give up their weapons, vow to support Islamists in their quest to impose Sharia law.

 

Middle East Online

Islamists are aiming to extend their control to the Mugud region

MOGADISHU - Hardline Islamists on Tuesday widened their control in central Somalia after local militiamen gave up their weapons and vowed to support the Islamists in their quest to impose Sharia law in the shattered Horn of Africa nation.

Militiamen from the dominant Hawiye clan handed over at least 50 battlewagons - pickups mounted with machineguns - to the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS) in Adado township in the central Galgudud region.

"We came here by the wishes of the locals not by force," said Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the head of SICS.

"Our main objective is to establish an Islamic court here in central regions," said Aweys, who has set up shop in the central region, south of the semi-autonomous northeastern Somali region of Puntland, which was formerly controlled by transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

Aweys said the Islamists, who control the capital Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia, were aiming to extend their control to the Mugud region in their bid to stop piracy, rampant in Haradere, about 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Mogadishu.

"We will eradicate Somali pirates by reaching where they are based including Haradere" he said.

Local leaders said they would back the Islamists, whose growing influence has threatened the authority of the transitional government, in their efforts to entrench theocracy in the country, home to about 10 million people.

"We are giving (the courts) weapons to help the enforcement of Sharia law," said Sultan Ali Ahmed Nur, a clan elder who oversaw the handing over of the weapons.

The transitional government based in the southcentral town of Baidoa, formed in Kenya in late 2004 after more than two years of peace talks, was seen as the best chance for the lawless nation to set up a functioning administration since the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Since then more than 14 internationally backed initiatives have failed to produce a government, with analysts blaming unruly warlords who obtained arms and other forms of support from neighbouring countries despite a UN arms embargo.

In addition to the conflict, Somalia has been wracked by famine and floods for the better part of 15 years, sending hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighbouring states while others embark on perilous boat rides across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen.

 

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iraq forces 'liberate' eastern Mosul

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers

Russia, Turkey stage first joint air strikes against IS in Syria

IS advances on terrified citizens of Syria’s Deir Ezzor

In path to greater executive power, Erdogan faces weak Turkey economy

Switzerland drops war crimes case against former Algerian defence minister

Patience wears thin in Iraq's Fallujah

New UN chief stresses importance of Syria peace talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk

Gunman found in comfy Istanbul flat

Iran, Syria sign phone, petrol deals in Tehran

Jordan charges 8 with inciting opposition against regime

Iranian president rules out renegotiating nuclear deal

Turkey prosecutors demand up to 142 years in jail for Kurd leader

180 dead after boat capsizes in Mediterranean

Saudi carries out first death sentence of 2017

Libyan granted right to sue UK ex-minister for rendition

Syria regime, rebels name heads of delegation for Astana talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker captured

Syria troops, IS jihadists battle on in Deir Ezzor

Israel occupation forces rearrest Palestinian journalist

Russian FM says Syria peace talks to ‘consolidate’ ceasefire

Amnesty warns EU's anti-terror laws threaten human rights

Saudi health emergency after mass food poisoning

Darfur rebel groups rebuilding their forces in Libya, South Sudan