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Somali Islamists Impose Curfew on Newly-Seized Town


Islamist militiamen have imposed a curfew in the Somali town of Kismayo following Monday's violent protests against the Islamist takeover of the town.

Witnesses say the Islamists have placed their vehicles on the main roads in a show of force meant to deter any further demonstrations.

On Monday, Islamist gunmen fired into a crowd of several thousand demonstrators, killing a 13-year-old boy and wounding two other people.

Tuesday, militiamen broke up a small women's protest against the takeover. Witnesses say the protest was brief and that the militias detained as many as 20 people.

The militias took control of Kismayo on Sunday without a fight. The seizure gave Islamist forces control over all of southern Somalia's major ports.

Speaking in Kenya Monday, Somalia's Interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said his country is in the grip of a radical Islamic movement dominated by terrorists.

The Islamists have moved to implement a strict form of Islamic law in the areas under their control. The United States accuses the Islamists of supporting al-Qaida terrorists, and says they are planning to turn Somalia into a Taleban-style Islamic state.

The Somali government has international backing but has virtually no power outside its base of Baidoa. Witnesses say hundreds of Ethiopian troops arrived in Baidoa Monday to protect the government. Ethiopia's foreign ministry denies those accounts.

The African Union recently approved a plan to send thousands of peacekeepers to the war-torn Horn of Africa country. Islamist leaders have vowed to fight the peacekeeping force if it arrives.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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