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Somali Islamists to rule by sharia law in Baidoa

ICC Note

The imposition of Sharia law in Baidoa means Christian converts from Islam face execution. Islamists in Somalia have been murdering Muslim converts to Christianity.

01/27/2008 Somalia (Reuters) – Somalia ‘s hardline Islamist insurgent group al Shabaab said on Tuesday it had introduced sharia law in Baidoa, a day after taking the town that had been a government stronghold and seat of parliament.

Fighters from al Shabaab, which is on Washington ‘s list of terrorist groups, captured Baidoa on Monday after the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops who had been supporting the government.

They quickly took the airport, parliament building and president’s home, and called locals to a meeting at a football stadium on Tuesday to explain how they would govern.

“We will not accept a government which is not working with sharia. We shall make changes in the town and will rule by Islamic law,” al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Muktar Robow Mansoor told hundreds of people in the stadium.

Al Shabaab’s takeover of Baidoa has thrust it back into the spotlight in Somalia after it appeared to be losing support among the population because of hardline tactics, and had lost some territory to another, moderate Islamist group.

Appeal For Calm

Spokesman Mansoor urged Baidoa residents to stay calm, after looting of empty Ethiopian bases and widespread fighting on Monday, and vowed that the Islamists would provide security.

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