TITLE=SOMALIA / LOCAL GOVERNMENTS (L ONLY)
INTRO: After nine years of anarchy, parts of Somalia
are taking tentative steps toward restoring law and
order. As Jennifer Wiens reports from Nairobi, rival
clans in southern Somalia have joined together to
elect local officials, and Islamic courts are starting
to crack down on bandits.
TEXT: Elders from 24 different tribal families
cooperated in electing local officials for the town of
Coriolei in southern Somalia, about 80 kilometers
south of the capital, Mogadishu. It is the first
election and the first official form of government in
southern Somalia in almost a decade.
It is still not clear how much power the new
administration will have or how it will be financed.
The officials include members from the Jiiddo and
Garreh sub-clans that until recently had been fighting
for dominance in both Coriolei and Mogadishu.
However, Hussein Aidid, whose Habr Gedir sub-clan has
been involved in the long-running battle for Coriolei,
apparently is not involved in the new local
Somalia has been without any central government,
police force, or military since President Mohamed Siad
Barre was overthrown in 1991. Bandits and militias
have carved up the country into miniature states, and
the lack of stability or security has ruined the
/// OPT /// Another problem for Somalia is the
ongoing war between its neighbors, Eritrea and
Ethiopia. Both of those countries have begun
supporting different Somali clans, arming and training
militias, and using south Somalia as a base for
attacks against each other. /// END OPT ///
But in the past few months, Islamic courts have
started to establish authority over the areas
controlled by the clans. Most Somalis are Muslim and
seem willing to grant Islamic courts a measure of
Islamic courts in Mogadishu were able to suppress some
of the worst crime there, and now, Islamic courts are
being established in other parts of Somalia as well.
A court set up in Coriolei has used Islamic militiamen
to stop bandits. The court's militias clear away
illegal roadblocks, patrol the streets like policemen,
and have detained almost 150 suspected bandits.
Some of those bandits have already been put on trial,
and have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from a
few weeks to two years. (Signed)
16-Nov-1999 11:21 AM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1621 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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