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, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

Iran flogs 5 people for eating in public during Ramadan

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali

Algeria plane with many French nationals on board vanishes over Mali

Iraqi protesters denounce treatment of minority Christians

Iraq elects Kurdish politician as federal president

Russia begins supplying military equipment to Iraq

Air Algerie plane contact lost over west Africa

South Sudan warring sides to resume peace talks