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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 21:48 GMT
Arms banned on Mogadishu streets
Kalashnikovs are commonplace at Mogadishu markets
By Hassan Barise in Mogadishu

The Transitional National Government of Somalia has issued an ultimatum to Mogadishu residents not to carry weapons in the capital's streets.

The authorities move is another attempt to control the use of guns by ordinary people.

Many Somalis own a variety of weapons ranging from short guns to Russian AK 47s.

Some use them for self protection, while others for extortion.

Bandit attacks

The proliferation of weapons in the capital Mogadishu has seen a rise in the number of bandit attacks on the streets.

This directive follows the deployment of nearly two thousand police and military personnel at strategic points on Mogadishu's main streets to tackle banditry.

Armed criminals have made the streets a no go area for public transport and private cars.

Armed men
Armed warlords and bandits have been told to stay away from Mogadishu streets

Now the government has warned all street gangs to put away their weapons giving security officers mandate to confiscate all weapons taken from the streets, especially assault rifles.

Warlords warned

The statement, issued by the prime minister's office, warned of consequences if the directives were disobeyed, advising the warlords opposed to it to remain at their headquarters during the period of the exercise.

The government has warned them to refrain from anything that might lead to what they called the "creation of a sensitive military situation".

There is no response as yet from the warlords on this new directive. However, only Muse Sudi Yalahow is currently in Mogadishu, while Hussein Mohammed Aideed is in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Osman Ali Atto on the other hand is no longer regarded as an opposition member, after recently attending the meeting in Nairobi with the government. However, he is not yet a member of the transitional government.

Security tightened

The latest security measure comes after an influx of weapons into Mogadishu's markets.

The most popular weapon in Somalia, the Russian-made AK 47, costs more than $200.

Meanwhile, Somalia's business women's organisation and some female parliamentarians have began raising funds for the security project.

The government itself has allocated $5,000 for the security operation.

See also:

13 Nov 01 | Africa
Somalis stranded in Ethiopia
11 Dec 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Somalis feel US squeeze
29 Dec 01 | Africa
Nine die in Mogadishu clash
08 Nov 01 | Africa
Somali company 'not terrorist'
27 Dec 01 | Africa
Heavy fighting erupts in Somalia
28 Dec 01 | Africa
Calm returns to Mogadishu
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