Some Kismayo residents say they are optimistic the lawlessness there will end, just a week after opposition fighters seized the area from clan militias, but others are wary.

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Opposition fighters gain ground in Somalia

"The last time the Islamic fighters controlled the city, we saw some violations .. We urge them not to repeat that again," one elder in Kismayo told Al Jazeera.

Other residents have warned the fighters against imposing a strict Islamic code and to focus instead on achieving peace.

But many southern citizens appear to be expecting the opposition fighters to fulfil their promises of respecting tribal divisions in order to prevent pitfalls of the past.

Although accused by the United States of harbouring al-Qaeda fighters, the Islamic Courts Union is credited by some for bringing a degree of law and order to Somalia after its central government collapsed in 1991, giving way to an all out confrontation between various clan militias.