Western intelligence analysts specializing in events around the Horn of Africa on the Red Sea say it is unclear what lays behind the forming of a new political party, which is nothing more than a group of warlords.
The new Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (APPCT) was formed in Mogadishu following a bloody weekend, with at least 18 people killed and close to 100 wounded. Although information from the official Somali capital is scarce sources in Djibouti, where an international counter-terror force is based, say the last round of fighting was between members of some 10 different private militias and the powerful new ultra radical militia of the Islamic Sharia court in Mogadishu.
According to one report the radicals, usually dressed in white gowns and white head covers, armed with AK-47s and machine guns mounted on pick-up trucks, are a new phenomena on the Somali scene. The Sharia court militia’s main goal is to impose strict Islamic rule in all of Somalia. To do so followers of the court began to apprehend, and sometimes murder, those suspected of drug dealing, alcohol trading and prostitution. This hurts the warlords, who so far have been determining the nature of economic and social life in the capital, day-by-day business routines.
One source with connections to the Djibouti Task Force said the court militia is funded, motivated and basically related to the Jamaa Islamiah and al-Qaeda. The warlords are also preparing their men for the possible first meeting in years of a Somali parliament. This event, scheduled for February 26, will take place, if at all, in the town of Baidoa since the capital Mogadishu is still considered too dangerous for the parliament to meet in.
The latest events will have a direct influence on the activities of the Horn of Africa Task Force and the Naval Task Force patrolling the waterways leading to the Persian Gulf.