Jihad once again resurgent in Somalia.
“Somali Islamists seize key port town with airstrip,” by Mohamed Olad Hassan and Mohamed Sheikh Nor for Associated Press, November 12 (thanks to Sr. Soph):
MOGADISHU, Somalia “” A Somali Islamist militia designated a terror group by the U.S. seized a key port town Wednesday, consolidating recent gains as its two-year long insurgency seizes ever-greater swathes of territory from the weak U.N.-backed government.
The capture of Merka, 56 miles (90 kilometers) from the capital, Mogadishu, means the hardline al-Shabab militia hold both major ports with airstrips south of the capital. The new seizure comes less than a day after the group seized a strategic town in central Somalia.
The group has not controlled Merka since 2006, when it was ousted from power by Ethiopian soldiers supporting the shaky transitional government. The town’s port and airstrip are key conduits for food and aid workers….
Resident Abdi-Nur Haji Muridi said, “Nearly 200 heavily armed fighters loyal to al-Shabab, with several vehicles mounted with machine-guns, have moved into our town early this morning unopposed. They were waving at people and shouting words like ‘God is Great.'”…
UPDATE: SANE has illuminating background and commentary on this story.