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DATE=11/16/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SOMALIA / LOCAL GOVERNMENTS (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-256224 BYLINE=JENNIFER WIENS DATELINE=NAIROBI CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 government. 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 economy. /// 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 power. 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) NEB/JW/JWH/JP 16-Nov-1999 11:21 AM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1621 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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