14 November 2006

Somalia: Islamic Court to Be Set Up in Barre Hirale's Stronghold

Mogadishu — A statement issued in Gedo provincial town of Bardhere in southern Somalia says that a sub-clan dubbed Sade of Marehan tribe has officially announced it supported the Union of Islamic Courts and its operations in Somalia generally.

The clan has also endorsed the Islamic Courts to penetrate in Bardhere and introduce the Shar'eh (Islamic law) into the province.

The news comes as Islamic Courts fighters were moving closer to Bardhere where Somalia's defense minister Barre Aden Shire Hirale,who was defeated in the fight with Islamists, hails from

Col. Mohammed Aden Warabe, a member of the sub-clan religious leaders in Bardhere has told Shabelle by telephone that all Marehan sub-clans in the region have extended their support to Somalia's Islamists.

Asked how it might be reasonable for the Islamists to go in the town as Barre Hirale's militiamen who oppose Islamists are stationed there, Warabe said he organized about forty pro-Islamist militias ready to fight alongside the Courts fighters.

"We have men ready fight along with Islamic Courts forces if they come so we will seek no one's sympathy when it comes to acting the Islamic law", Warabe said, calling on Barhdhere residents to support the Union of Islamic Courts which he said would bring justice based on Islam for all.

Warabe's remarks come as other members of Merahan tribe in Abudwaq, central Somalia, have announced they agreed to set up an Islamic Court in their town.

The Islamic Courts have expanded their territorial powers after they defeated the warlords who were in control of various parts of the country, declaring a holy war against thousands of Ethiopian troops reportedly in Somalia, while Ethiopia says Islamists have links with international terrorist networks.

Experts are concerned the Somalia would become a proxy battleground for a long time rival enemies, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Eritrea has been accused of providing Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts with different types of arms to challenge with Ethiopia that vehemently backs the tenuous interim government based in Baidoa, 245 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Somalia's defense minister Barre Hirale, who lost more battlewagons in the latest fight with Islamist fighters, is in Baidoa, the transitional government's base.


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