Thursday, December 28, 2006

Islamists quit Mogadishu

The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) have unexpectedly abandoned Somalia's capital Mogadishu, leaving it to be captured by the alliance of forces from the Somali transitional national government and Ethiopian military.

Reports suggest that many UIC militiamen have abandoned their uniforms. One former UIC fighter told al-Jazeera, "We have been defeated. I have removed my uniform. Most of my comrades have also changed into civilian clothes."

Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi has promised, "We will not let Mogadishu burn."

One resident of the capital expressed fears to the contrary. "My worst fear is the capital will succumb to its old anarchy. The government should come in now and take over - this is the best chance they have before the city falls into the hands of the warlords again."

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow said that local commanders have already begun taking over parts of the city.

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