Somalia's Islamists have extended their influence in the lawless country by setting up an Islamic court in a central region.

The Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia, SICS, which controls the capital, Mogadishu, says it is opening a sharia court in the central town Adaado. Islamic officials say the area's residents had invited them to impose sharia law.

The leader of the SICS, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, arrived in Adaado Monday to meet with the town's elders.

Islamic leaders have been trying to widen their control from southern to central Somalia after ousting secular warlords from Mogadishu in June.

Somalia's largely powerless transitional government, based in Baidoa, suffered another blow Tuesday, when four more ministers resigned, joining 18 officials who quit last week.

They say they resigned because the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Gedi has failed to restore stability to Somalia.

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