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Somali Islamists poised to gain total control of country
July 20, 2006

The Islamic militia that seized control of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, last month has said it is on the verge of capturing the base of the country's powerless interim government.

The militia seized Mogadishu following clashes with the US-backed warlords that previously controlled the city, many of whom are also members of the UN-backed interim government.

The Islamists were welcomed by many residents after promising to restore order following the corrupt rule of the warlords.

However, their gains have raised concerns about a Taliban-style takeover in Somalia.

The Islamic militia now says it is on the verge of seizing the city of Baidoa, where the interim administration is based.

More than 200 fighters from the militia captured the nearby town of Bur Haqaba yesterday and have called on President Abdullahi Yusuf and his tribal forces to surrender Baidoa peacefully.

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