SOMALI ISLAMISTS VOW TO CRUSH RESISTANCE AS LAST WARLORD FLEES
July 11, 2006
MOGADISHU (AFP) - Islamists now in full control of the Somali capital
vowed to "destroy" all resistance to their religious rule as the city's last secular warlord fled after surrendering in fierce
Islamic militia scoured
southern Mogadishu for weapons still outside their hands following
the defeat late Monday of warlord Abdi Hassan Awale Qeydiid in bloody clashes that left at least 100 dead since the weekend.
"I am urging all armed militiamen
who are not working with the Islamic courts to surrender their weapons immediately," said Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, executive
chief of the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS).
"Otherwise, they will be
responsible for their actions," he told reporters. "Any attempt to fight the Islamic courts is pointless. We are committed
to put Mogadishu under one leadership.
"You cannot have weapons
and act against the Islamic courts," Ahmed said. "Any group that tries to fight the Islamic courts will be destroyed. The
Islamic courts have overcome the infidel stooges."
His comments came as heavily-armed
Islamic militia seized at least 35 blood-stained battlewagons -- pick-ups mounted with heavy machine guns also known as "techicals"
-- from Qeydiid and his ally Abu Shukri.
Some 500 of Qeydiid's fighters
turned in their weapons after elders mediated his surrender that came after two days of heavy fighting, witnesses said.
"They were holed up in several
buildings and we were pounding them with artillery and mortar shells from every corner," Islamist militia commander Abdi Shakur
told AFP. "There was no other option for them but to surrender."
Qeydiid had been the lone
holdout from a vanquished US-backed warlord alliance formed in February to fight the increasingly powerful Islamists but left
the city after surrendering late Monday, witnesses said.
His whereabouts were unknown
but several sources said he fled his headquarters in southern Mogadishu's
K5 neighborhood overnight after his forces suffered heavy casualties.
"Qeydiid was sneaked out
overnight and we can't see him in his compound," said one top Islamic militia commander, adding that elders from his Sa'ad
sub-clan probably arranged the escape.
The Islamists now control
all of Mogadishu and have been tightening their religious
grip on the capital since seizing most of it on June 5 from the warlords.
An exact death toll was
impossible to obtain but officials at the capital's four main hospitals said at least 100 people had been killed and more
than 200 injured in two days of clashes that ended late Monday with the warlord's surrender.
The new figures bring to
at least 450 the number of people killed since fighting between the Islamists and a US-backed warlord alliance first erupted
in February. More than 2,200 people have been injured since then.
Meanwhile, a rift emerged
within Somalia's largely powerless transitional government on Tuesday over
whether to meet with representatives of the Islamic courts as scheduled in Sudan
at the weekend.
On Monday, the deputy prime
minister and interior minister Hussein Aideed, who had been supporting Qeydiid, said the government would not meet with hardline
Islamists at the weekend in Sudan as had
But on Tuesday, the minister
of state for parliament and government relations Abdurahman Aden Ibrahim said the meeting would go ahead and castigated Aideed
for his comments critical of the Islamists.
"We must reach a real reconciliation
within our country to stabilize it and bring it back as a full member among the nations of the world," Ibrahim said in a statement
released in the Kenyan capital.
The split is characteristic
of infighting that has prevented the government from asserting control over any significant part of the lawless country, which
has been in throes of chaos for the past 15 years.
Aideed said the Islamists
had violated a mutual recognition and truce deal signed with the government at an earlier meeting in Sudan on June 21 and demanded they abandon territory seized since then.
He also accused the courts of operating like Afghanistan's former Taliban regime and had won support from Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network, charges
similar to those made by the United States and the warlord alliance.
The Islamic courts have
denied the charges but have moved in recent weeks to impose a strict version of Sharia law in Mogadishu and other areas they hold.