Somali Islamists extend control
Somalia’s Islamists have begun consolidating their control over Mogadishu by collecting weapons from fighters loyal to the city's defeated warlords.
The Islamic Courts Union now controls almost all of the country's capital and much of southern Somalia after seizing Mogadishu's main port on Wednesday.
Since the capture of the port, many Somali militiamen who formerly supported the warlords have offered to surrender their weapons and work with the Islamists.
“We have been working with the warlords for a long time, so now it is time to give the chance (to the Islamic group)”, said militia commander Yusuf Iyow on Thursday. “We are committed to forget the past hostilities and to work with them.”
“The only power in Mogadishu is the Islamic Courts Union, so there is no other option open for us but to surrender. Defiance only kills people and does not create opportunities” for peace, Iyow said.
Separate from the Islamic Courts Union is an interim government that was formed under United Nations supervision in late 2004.
The interim government has almost no influence outside the town of Baidoa, 250km (155 miles) northwest of the capital.
It also has no army and is unpopular with many Somalis who blame many of its ministers for the anarchy and violence that have blighted the country since they ousted longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
< id="kpfLog" src="http://127.0.0.1:44501/pl.?START_LOG" onload="destroy(this)" STYLE='display: none'>>