Insurgents impose Islamic law in Somali town

January 28th, 2009 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi/Mogadishu, Jan 28 (DPA) Somali insurgents have installed strict Islamic law in Baidoa, the seat of the Somali government, after taking control of the town.Main insurgent group al-Shabaab took over the town Monday, only hours after the pullout of Ethiopian troops who had been propping up the central government for two years.

Baidoa was one of the last remaining strongholds of the government, which now only controls parts of the capital Mogadishu.

Sheikh Muktar Robow Mansoor, spokesman for al-Shabaab, told a rally in Baidoa that the insurgent group wanted to rule Somalia under Sharia, or Islamic law, and would reject any government that did not do so, Radio Garowe reported.

Despite al-Shabaab’s advances, political moves are still ongoing to create a larger national parliament and elect a new president.

Somali MPs, meeting in neighbouring Djibouti Monday, voted to double the number of seats in parliament from 275. The enlarged body would have 200 seats set aside for the Islamist Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS).

Somalia is also expected to hold a presidential election Feb 2.

ARS leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and current Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein are both running for the president’s election.

President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed resigned in December after parliament thwarted his attempt to sack Hussein.

Some are hoping that the expanded parliament, a new president and the departure of the Ethiopians will increase the prospects of peace in Somalia.

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