Islamic group claims capture of Somalia's capital

Claim follows weeks of bloody fighting.

somalia violence 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
somalia violence 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
An Islamic militia said Monday it has seized Somalia's capital after weeks of some of the bloodiest fighting in 15 years of anarchy in this Horn of Africa nation. Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Courts Union, said his forces have fought off a secular alliance of warlords who have been trying to retain their grip on Somalia. The militia, whose growing power is raising fears that the nation could follow the path of Taliban Afghanistan into the hands of al-Qaida, appeared in control of the capital. Mogadishu was peaceful Monday. Attempts to reach leaders of the secular alliance were not immediately successful. Most leaders appeared to have fled the city by Monday afternoon. "We want to restore peace and stability to Mogadishu. We are ready to meet and talk anybody and any group for the interest of the people," Ahmed said on a radio broadcast.