From: Biniam Tekle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Jan 15 2009 - 08:03:13 EST
01/15/09 'Terror group' joins Somali capital takeover
From Mohamed Amiin Adow
*(CNN)* -- Islamist militants took almost full control of Mogadishu on
Thursday, less than 24 hours after Ethiopian troops withdrew from Somalia's
capital, a witness reported.
The Ethiopian forces pulled out their last remaining bases in the city late
Wednesday after two years propping up Somalia's transitional government.
Forces from different Islamist groups -- including the hard-line al-Shabab,
which the United States has designated a terror organization -- immediately
seized every base the Ethiopians abandoned.
"The city is almost under Islamist rule," said a local journalist who did
not want his name revealed. "You can hear different names of the Islamist
groups taking control in many parts of the city."
The journalist said the militants were in "full force" in most of Mogadishu.
However, they had yet to claim control of the city's seaport, the
presidential palace and a major junction on the south side.
Ethiopia invaded Somalia in December 2006 to install a U.N.-backed
transitional government in Mogadishu after a decade and a half of
The invasion had the blessing of the United States, which accused the
Islamic Courts Union that captured Mogadishu earlier that year of harboring
fugitives from al Qaeda.
The Islamists responded with a guerrilla campaign against government and
Ethiopian troops. Efforts to replace the Ethiopians with an African
Union-led peacekeeping mission faltered as the violence worsened, and heavy
fighting in Mogadishu and other cities drove hundreds of thousands from
The lawlessness also spilled onto the seas off the Horn of Africa, where
international vessels are routinely hijacked by suspected Somali pirates who
demand large ransoms. And the transitional government was wracked by a power
struggle between Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein and President Abdullahi
Yusuf, who resigned in December.
Hussein said Thursday that he would run for president now that Ethiopian
troops had gone.
Ahmed attempted to fire Hussein for being ineffective. But Hussein said the
president did not have that power, and the vast majority of members of
parliament backed Hussein in a vote of confidence.
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