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Islamic fighters seize key seaport in southern Somalia

Published 25/09/2006

The Islamic militant alliance that is on the verge of seizing power in Somalia has captured a key seaport in the south of the country.

Hundreds of fighters entered Kismayo in heavily armed trucks yesterday without any reports of violence.

A spokesman said the warlords who previously controlled the port city had fled without a fight.

The Islamic alliance seized control of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, earlier this year from the warlords who had been ruling the country since the overthrow of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991.

They have been largely welcomed by the civilian population due to the corruption and violence of the warlords, many of whom are members of the country's UN-backed interim government.

However, Western observers have expressed concern about the takeover, which bears striking similarities to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s.

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