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Vol 37 No 14

Published 5th July 1996


Somalia

Talking Sharia

Amid heavy fighting and the rise of Islamist militias, General Mohamed Farah 'Aydeed' has changed his mind about Sharia courts. He had previously opposed them, considering them a potential alternative source of authority. On 2 July, however, he asked religious leaders to prepare plans for Islamic courts in South Mogadishu. In April, his relations with religious leaders had deteriorated sharply after a shooting incident outside a mosque and the arrest of four sheikhs from the area of Ali Mahdi Mohamed's ally, Moussa Sudi. These incidents had followed an announcement by Aydeed's old friend and new enemy, Osman Ali Ato, that he was planning Sharia courts. But it is Ali Mahdi who has so far had most success in mobilising Islamist support.

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