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Somali pro-govt militias seize buildings in capital

Thursday, December 28, 2006

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MOGADISHU, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Militias allied to the Somali government captured several key buildings including the former presidential palace in Mogadishu on Thursday, a spokesman for the Somali National Alliance (SNA) faction said.

"We have taken over Villa Somalia," Abukar Osman Sheikh told Reuters. "Now the Islamists have left Mogadishu, we rightfully took over all the places we used to control including the presidential palace."

The SNA belongs to former faction leader Hussein Mohamed Aideed, now interior minister and deputy prime minister in the government.

"We have a working relationship with the government and would welcome them to the capital," Sheikh said.

The move came as residents reported an upsurge in violence in Mogadishu, with looting, gunfire and checkpoints erected after their former Islamist leaders deserted the city.

Source: Reuters, Dec 28, 2006

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