General Addeh Museh, president of Puntland, the autonomous region in northeastern Somalia, has vowed to resist any attack by fighters from the Islamic Courts Union, saying his administration would not accept “radicalism and extremism.” Gen. Museh said, “We will continue to resist the spread of Islamic militants.”
The president was speaking one day after he made a surprise announcement that he will rule according to Islamic law. Many see his decision as an attempt to head-off attacks from the Islamic Courts movement, the militia that controls Mogadishu, the Somali capital, and much of the country’s south.
Puntland, which declared itself an autonomous state within Somalia in 1998, has generally been spared the violence that has gripped much of the country. It has heretofore had a secular penal code, although the region’s charter says it is based on the Koran.
“Our decision that to use Islamic law will be different from the type of militant Islam in Mogadishu,” where the Islamic Courts rule, Museh said. “We do not want to politicise the Islamic religion.” (Al Jazeera, Nov. 21)
Meanwhile, the Islamic Courts Union appears to be wooing the leadership of Somalia’s other autonomous region, the former British colony of Somaliland, in a bid to integrate the region under their control.
Following the collapse of the military regime led by late Mohammed Siad Barre, Somaliland declared itself independent on 18 May 1991, although it has failed to achieve international recognition.
In an interview with Mogadishu’s Shabelle Radio, Islamic Courts Union spokesman Hassan Dahir Aweys by Aweys said, “We sympathize with our fellow citizens in northern provinces and we promise we will compensate them in the right time for the destructions of their livelihood and the loss of lives they had faced during former military government that oppressed Somali people in general.” (Shabelle Media Network, Mogadishu, Nov. 19, via AllAfrica)
See our last post on Somalia.