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Somalia parliament declaring martial law after Sharia fighters flee Mogadishu

[JURIST] Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi [BBC profile] announced Thursday that Somalia’s parliament will declare 3 months of martial law starting Saturday, in the hope of reestablishing order following the fleeing from Mogadishu of militias seeking to establish Islamic law in the country [JURIST report] after troops from neighboring Ethiopia intervened [AP report] on the side of the UN-supported government which until recently had been in exile. A spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) [official website] told reporters that as soon as the security situation could be assessed, humanitarian aid flights would begin. The International Committee of the Red Cross [advocacy website] is also closely monitoring the situation [press release].

While the majority of Islamic militia fighters left Mogadishu this past week without incident, it is not believed that the relative calm in the city will continue for long. Somalia has suffered through an internal civil war and several failed peace talks [BBC timeline] since the collapse of civilian government in 1991. The Islamic Courts [BBC profile], reportedly the most popular political party in the country, were seeking to promote Islamic law rather than clan allegiance, even though all but one of the 11 courts come from the same clan. CBC has more.

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