Home | News    Monday 2 October 2006

Somali Islamists expand control near Ethiopian border

Oct 1, 2006 (NAIROBI) — Fighters of Somali Islamic Courts have seized control of a strategic village in the agriculturally rich area of Lower Shabelle near the Ethiopian border, reports said on Sunday.

Fighters loyal to the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) group routed pro-government militia from the village of Jawill, some 15km from the Ethiopian border on Saturday. The only roads between Ethiopia and central Somalia pass through the village.

SCIC senior leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has vowed to seize more territories.

The Saturday’s takeover is the SCIC’s second major territorial gain in nearly a week, following last Sunday’s takeover of the southern port city of Kismayo.

The SCIC have gradually expanded their influence over Somalia since defeating warlords in a battle for the capital, Mogadishu, in June.

Somalia’s interim government, the 14th attempt at restoring the central rule, viewed the Kismayo takeover as breaching a ceasefire agreed at talks in Khartoum, Sudan, early this month.

The African Union recently approved a plan to send thousands of peacekeepers to the war-torn Horn of Africa country. SCIC leaders have vowed to fight the peacekeeping force if it arrives.

(Xinhua)