MOGADISHU, Nov. 11, 2008 -- At least four Somalis were killed in clashes between radical Shebab fighters and a local militia which took up arms to protest a ban on khat, a widely consumed narcotic leaf, witnesses said on Tuesday.
The militia attacked the Shebab late on Monday in Eldher town, some 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Mogadishu . They killed two of them, sparking a retaliatory attack in which two of their own died.
The Islamist Shebab organization - which has made significant military gains across Somalia in recent months - had set up camp near the town and imposed a strict form of Sharia law.
The gangs attacked our forces in the region trying to stop moves to eliminate drugs, including khat, which is part of Sharia," said Sheikh Hassan Mohamed, a Shebab commander.
"Praise be to Allah. We defeated and killed two of them and we now fully control the region," he said.
Separately, the Shebab fighters seized control Tuesday of Qoryoley town, about 100 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu , from an Islamist militia.
When in power in 2006, the Islamists carried out executions, shut cinemas and photo shops, banned live music, flogged drug offenders and harassed civilians, mainly women, for failing to wear appropriate dress in public..
Source: IOL.co.za /AFP