Islamists claim victory in Somalia

Abdi Hassan Awale Qeydiid, Somalia's last secular warlord in the capital Mogadishu, has surrendered to Islamic militants after a two-day battle that left at least 67 dead, militants said.

    Islamic militants control most of southern Somalia

    The militants said on Monday that they had captured the warlord's  headquarters in the south of the city and that his fighters had  begun handing over their weapons.

      

    The militants had claimed on Sunday that they had taken full control of  the city after declaring victory over Qeydiid and fellow warlord and  transitional government member Hussein Aidid, but heavy fighting had  resumed early afternoon on Monday.

      

    After four months of fighting between  militants and the US-backed warlords, which left over 400 dead, Mogadishu fell on June 5 to the  militants, who also control swathes of southern Somalia.

      

    Somalia's transitional government in Baidoa, about 250kms (150miles) from Mogadishu, demanded that the Islamists  abandon territories they seized in Mogadishu and be excluded from  peace talks with the government, expected to resume in Khartoum on  Saturday.

      

    Peacekeepers

     

    Sheikh Ahmed says the government
    has nothing to do with peace 

    But Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a top official in Somalia's  supreme Islamic Court, said that "the government has nothing to do  with peace in Mogadishu".

      

    "This government was unable to come to the capital after being repelled by the warlords, whom we have at last toppled. They (the  government) should be grateful for what we did," he told  journalists.

      

    Earlier on Monday in Nairobi, Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan President and Yoweri Museveni, his Ugandan counterpart, who are members of the seven-nation  east African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD),  called on the international community to help deploy peacekeepers in  the east African country.

      

    In recent weeks, IGAD officials have complained that the  international community, especially Western powers, have been  non-committal on the Somali conflict, thus complicating regional  efforts to restore a functional government there.

    SOURCE: AFP


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