3 October 2006

Somalia: Islamic Courts Attain Afmadow in Lower Jubba Region

Mogadishu — Somalia's Islamic Courts widening their powers have reached Afmadow district in Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia.

Sheik Hassan al-Turki was leading more battlewagons and forces when they arrived at Afmadow and was warmly received by elders and intellectuals in the area.

Islamic Courts grabbed the port city of Kismayu, 500 km northwest of the capital Mogadishu, late last month, temporarily imposing curfew on the town as they faced rioters against them.

Ibrahim Shukri, the Islamic Courts spokesperson in Lower Jubba region had confirmed to Shabelle Radio in Mogadishu that Islamic Courts forces peacefully captured Afmadow, about 170 km south of Kismayu that is now under Islamist control.

The Islamist said the population in Afamadow had been waiting for the Islamic Courts arrival and had always been supportive to them [Islamists].

The Islamists indicated previously that they would impose the Islamic law on all parts of the country they control.

Hassan al-Turki in charge of Dhobley district near the Kenyan border has reportedly stationed more of his followers at the border to make sure foreign peacekeepers do not cross into Somalia.

The narcotic "Khad" leafs that was banned during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has been entering southern parts of Soamlia through the Kenyan border, but Islamist imposed weighty taxes on Khad and cigarettes to discourage buyers chewing the Khad or smoking cigarette.

The chairman of Afmadow Sheik Mohamood Omar delivered a speech to a large audience who assembled at the main square of the district, assuring them that Afmadow administration was ready to collaborate with the Islamic Courts.

The federal government based in Baidoa criticized Islamists for spreading out and extorting new lands by even attempting to overpower the government.

The Islamic Courts supreme leader Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys denied any Islamist desire of overrunning the powerless government.

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