Thursday, July 13, 2006

Islamists Tighten Grip on Mogadishu.

Islamists tightened their grip on the Somali capital, Mogadishu, taking control of its main port and demanding that all government property be turned over to them.

In separate developments, Islamic militia opened fire to quell a tax protest in a former warlord stronghold north of the capital, shooting dead at least one person, wounding several others and arresting dozens, witnesses said.

And heavily armed Islamic gunmen stormed a village in Somalia's central Galgudud region after receiving reports that several warlords were attempting to regroup there, residents said.
The Islamists took custody of Mogadishu's port from a local militia leader, witnesses said, two days after they ousted the last remaining member of a US-backed coalition of warlords from the capital. The other warlords were routed in June.

As a local militia chief peacefully surrendered the port, a senior official from the Islamist union, the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS), ordered that all public facilities in Mogadishu be ceded to the SICS, a demand likely to further antagonize the country's transitional government.
"The other remaining government properties must be handed over to the Islamic courts," SICS executive committee chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said."Mogadishu is right now under control of the Islamic courts," he said. "We will control every other important thing in Mogadishu. I encourage everybody who is opposed to the Islamic courts to change that stance and support them."


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