21 May 2009

Somalia: Islamic Courts Mayor of Beletwein Resigns

The mayor of a key town in central Somalia resigned Wednesday night with emerging reports indicating his resignation is linked to violence among Islamist factions, Radio Garowe reports.

Sheikh Aden Omar "Jilibay" told reporters in Beletwein, capital of Hiran region, that clan leaders pressured him to resign from the post of Beletwein mayor.

He noted that "ongoing developments among Islamists" contributed to his resignation, but categorically denied that he was threatened or resigned due to fear.

Sheikh Jilibay said he was a businessman before being appointed mayor of Beletwein by the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) administration that governors the town.

Pro-government ICU militias have been battling for control of parts of Hiran region in recent weeks, as anti-government Al Shabaab fighters spread their war campaign in the central regions.

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