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Islamists Disarm Somali Warlord Fighters in Kismayo


A southern Somali warlord and his fighters have been disarmed in the southern port city of Kismayo, just days after Islamist forces took over the town.

Some 300 fighters from the Juba Valley Alliance laid down their weapons Wednesday and handed over at least 14 trucks armed with machine guns.

The alliance controlled Kismayo until the Islamist takeover Sunday. Since then, Islamist militiamen put down two demonstrations against the takeover. At least one person was killed, and as many as 20 people were arrested.

The Islamists have imposed a nighttime curfew and have stationed vehicles along main roads to deter further demonstrations.

After capturing Kismayo without a fight, Islamist forces now control all of southern Somalia's major ports.

Somalia's interim government has international backing but virtually no power outside its base in the town of Baidoa.

Witnesses say hundreds of Ethiopian troops arrived in Baidoa Monday to protect the government. Ethiopia's foreign ministry denies those accounts.

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

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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