From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Jan 26 2009 - 15:44:19 EST
Islamist fighters seize Somali government seat
<http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/01/26/somalia.takeover/> CNN -
Islamist fighters on Monday seized control of Baidoa, Somalia -- the
headquarters of the country's U.N.-backed government -- raiding the
parliament building and demanding that several lawmakers publicly surrender,
according to a journalist in the city who witnessed the public spectacle.
The situation left Somali lawmakers stranded in the neighboring country of
Djibouti, where they often convene and where talks on forming a new
government are currently under way.
Al-Shabab fighters took over the parliament building and the presidential
palace in Baidoa, the reporter said. They captured five members of
parliament and paraded them through the city streets, with hundreds of
residents looking on. The five were released after publicly surrendering.
The takeover happened just hours after the remaining Ethiopian forces pulled
out of the town's airport, where they had withdrawn under a recent
cease-fire deal, the reporter said.
In Djibouti, Parliament Speaker Aden Mohamed Nur told his fellow lawmakers
that "we have nowhere to return to," according to Omar Faruk Osman, a Somali
journalist attending the meeting.
The United Nations-backed transitional government took office after
Ethiopian troops ousted an Islamist government at the end of 2006, but it
had controlled little of the country outside of the southwestern city of
The transitional government has control only of the presidential palace in
the Somali capital of Mogadishu and the road to the airport in the capital
city, which it holds with the help of African Union forces.
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