First Published: 2006-06-05

 
Somalia PM sacks US-backed warlords
 

Gedi invites Islamic courts to take part in dialogue with view to ending deadly clashes.

 

Middle East Online

At least 347 killed since armed clashes started in February

MOGADISHU - Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has sacked four ministers, also warlords, who were involved in deadly clashes with Islamic courts militia over control of the lawless capital and its northern outskirts, officials said on Monday.

Gedi fired national security minister Mohamed Afrah Qanyare, commerce minister Musa Sudi Yalahow, militia rehabilitation minister Issa Botan Alin and religious affairs minister Omar Muhamoud Finnish, a government spokesman said.

"The prime minister, chairing the council of ministers, has sacked all the cabinet members who have been involved in the fighting," Abdirahman Nur Mohamed Dinari said.

The four warlords, members of the US-backed Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), had defied several orders to stop fighting with Mogadishu's increasingly powerful 11 Islamic courts since February.

In the latest clashes on Sunday, the Islamic gunmen seized control of the strategic town of Balad township, around 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Mogadishu, as the alliance fighters fled to the regional town of Jowhar, about 60 kilometers to the north.

The seizure of Balad, a strategic supply town for the warlords, put the Islamic courts within striking distance of Jowhar, which is controlled by warlord and leading alliance member, Mohamed Omar Habeb, and home to several aid agencies.

In addition, Gedi invited the Islamic courts to take part in dialogue with a view to ending the clashes that erupted in February and have so far claimed at least 347 lives and injured more than 1,500 others, many of them civilians.

"The prime minister has invited the Islamic courts for dialogue," Dinari said.

The largely powerless Somali transitional government is based in the regional town of Baidoa, about 250 kilometres, northwest of the capital.

The ARPCT, formed in February, has reportedly received financial and intelligence support from the United States to help fight the Islamic courts, accused of harbouring foreign fighters and having links with extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda.

The courts, which have declared a holy war against the alliance, deny the accusations and claim the warlords are fighting for the "enemy of Islam". The United States has refused to confirm or deny its support for the ARPCT.

 

Egypt, France agree to step up cooperation against terrorism

Libya’s Derna emerges as new IS stronghold

Huthis humiliate Al-Ahmar clan with capture of Sanaa headquarters

UN chief calls for halt to Libya air strikes

Lebanese diva Sabah passes away

Regime indiscriminate strikes kill scores in Islamic State 'capital' in Syria

Putin meets with Syria Foreign Minister in Black Sea retreat of Sochi

Britain rushes to fight terror with controversial bill

Gunmen kill 3 Egypt policemen in fresh terrorist attack

Iran lawmakers finally approve third Rouhani science minister pick

Turkey clears only suspect in alleged poisoning of former president

Christians hold out in Syria second city despite Daesh threat

Egypt to reopen Rafah border crossing Wednesday

Egypt leader begins two-day trip to France

Tribesmen blow up Yemen’s main oil pipeline

Russia trims oil output

Syrian air strikes on Raqa kill 63 civilians

17 killed in fatal Cairo building collapse

Egypt nabs five Salafist leaders

Essebsi leads Tunisia presidential vote

Paris pushing for 'safe zones' in war-torn Syria

New air strike hits Tripoli’s sole operational airport

Pentagon chief steps down

Saudi seeks to ‘knock out’ shale oil competitors from oil market

Death toll rises from Morocco flash floods

Yemen troops free 8 hostages from Al-Qaeda

Italy hails Egypt as 'strategic partner'

US Congress skeptical of Iran nuclear talks extension

Khartoum, Darfur rebels open ceasefire talks

Time runs out for biggest chance to resolve Iran nuclear standoff

Egypt leader heads to Italy

Morocco arrests six over online IS allegiance pledge

Iraqi forces retake areas near Iran border from jihadists

Southern Morocco storms claim eight lives

Marzouki, Essebsi set for runoff in Tunisia presidential vote

Biden wraps up Turkey visit without breakthrough on Syria

Sudan launches investigation into claims of 'mass rape' in Darfur village

Assad urges ‘real pressure’ on backers of 'terror'

Israel eyes powers to revoke rights of Arab residents

Iraq death sentence to ex- PM threatens to damage ties with powerful tribe

Iran hardliners resist possible nuclear deal in rare protest

After failure of boycott, Bahrain Shiite opposition resorts to accusations

Tunisia votes for president in first free and multi-candidate election

Hope for change and stability as Tunisia prepares to elect new president

Saudi detainee sent home as US speeds up Guantanamo repatriations