Islamist fighters take over police stations in Mogadishu
Somali Islamist insurgents Saturday took control of a number of police stations in the capital of Mogadishu, one day after Ethiopia started withdrawing troops from the war-torn Horn of Africa country.
The insurgent fighters have taken control of three of the 14 police stations in Mogadishu in insurgent-held areas in the south and northeast of the city, reported Xinhua.
"We deployed our forces in some police stations in Mogadishu because we want to insure the security of people around the areas, "Abdurahim Isse Adow, spokesman for the Union of Islamic Courts, told Xinhua.
The Islamist group dominates in the opposition coalition, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), led by moderate Islamist leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who signed a peace deal with the Somali transitional government last year. The Islamist leader moved his faction's headquarters to Mogadishu following the peace deal with the government.
Adow said the deployment of the Islamist forces in the police stations is in response to the Ethiopian troop withdrawal from Mogadishu and would be "widened as necessary".
Ethiopian troops crossed into Somalia in late 2006 to assist Somali government forces.
Under an agreement signed between the ARS and the transitional government in Djibouti, the Ethiopian troops would withdraw from the country while security for the Mogadishu would be shared by Somali government forces and opposition fighters.
The two sides also agreed to share power and form a government of national unity.
The current 275-member parliament is expected to be doubled to include 200 members from the ARS and 75 others from Somali civil society, the diaspora and women. The new expanded parliament would then elect "new leadership" for Somalia.
The agreement was rejected by other Somali insurgent groups, including Al-Shabaab group and a breakaway faction of the ARS.