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.

 

Ansar al-Sharia denies killing of Abu Iyadh in US air strike

Egypt President in Sinai after jihadist attacks on security forces

Hezbollah backs Syria army in major assault on border city

No guarantee of success as Iran nuclear talks inch closer to lasting deal

Lawlessness in Libya poses real danger for Tunisia

Erdogan moots possibility of snap election

Coalitions of Syria rebels battle regime forces in Aleppo

Syria mosque explosion kills at least 25 Nusra fighters

Yemen Huthi rebels ‘attack’ various areas in Saudi Arabia

Egypt ‘in state of war’ on second anniversary of Islamist ouster

Rockets from Sinai strike Israel

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

Erdogan inaugurates public mosque in palace

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre

Youth in Tunisia 'ripe for radicalisation'

UN sends mission to 'assess' South Sudan atrocities

Syria urges citizens to enlist

AQAP step up campaign to eradicate qat

Iraq Christians train for jihad against IS

British FM: 'No breakthrough yet' in Iran nuclear talks

UN imposes first sanctions on six South Sudan generals

Libya rival governments will not return to peace talks

Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden

Egypt government adopts anti-terror law

Kurds warn Turkey against any ‘aggression’ in Syria

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after suicide bombing

Kuwait parliament approves deficit budget on oil slide

Pro-Erdogan candidate becomes new speaker of Turkey parliament

‘War’ in Sinai Peninsula as clashes with ISIS fighters rage on

All 38 victims of Tunisia beach massacre identified

36 killed in wave of IS attack on Egyptian soldiers

Iran vs. Israel gets cartoon treatment

IAEA chief to fly to Iran for nuclear talks

Saudi prince pledges fortune to charity