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ICC NOTE: Now that the Islamic forces have control of coastal cities, it is not unreasonable to predict that other nations and groups (such as Al Queda) that give support to the Islamic agenda will use this is as a way to bring more arms and supplies to strengthen the IUC and its stronghold in Somalia.

Somalia ‘s Islamists seize pirate strongholds

Sun 13 Aug 2006

By Mohamed Ali Bile

For the full article go to Reuters

MOGADISHU, – Islamist fighters in Somalia have seized two coastal towns and vowed to rid the area of piracy that has made the country’s Indian Ocean waters some of the most dangerous in the world, residents said on Sunday.

The militiamen met little resistance and there were no immediate reports of casualties as they moved into Harardheere, a town 400km (250 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, before advancing north to take Eldher a day later.

“We have to secure the town and its surroundings,” one Islamist commander, who did not give his name, told a crowd of residents in Harardheere. “Piracy is a crime.”

Fighters loyal to the country’s Islamic courts movement seized Mogadishu and a strategic swathe of southern Somalia in June. They oppose the interim government, based in the provincial town of Baidoa , and threaten its limited authority.

The northern and southern coastline of Somalia — Africa’s longest — links trade routes for key commodities like oil, grains and iron ore from the Gulf and the Red Sea down to the Mozambique Channel . Thousands of merchant ships snake down past the Somali coast to the Cape of Good Hope every year.