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Somalia parliament authorizes martial law

[JURIST] Somalia's transitional parliament voted Saturday to authorize the government to declare martial law in the troubled east African country. The authorization and the accompanying declaration of a state of emergency [Reuters report] followed Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi's Thursday call [JURIST report] for the parliament to declare three months of martial law in hopes of reestablishing order following the capture of Somali capital Mogadishu from militias seeking to establish Islamic law [JURIST report]. Ethiopian and Somali government forces have been fighting since December 24 against the Somali Islamic fundamentalist movement, which has largely dispersed from urban areas.

On Tuesday, US air strikes targeted wanted FBI terror fugitives [JURIST report], whom the US believes was being sheltered in Somalia by the Council of Islamic Courts [official website, in Somali; BBC backgrounder]. Somalia has endured a lengthy civil war and several rounds of failed peace talks [BBC timeline] since the collapse of its last civilian government in 1991. AP has more.

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