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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Somali gunmen raid film studios
By Hassan Barise
BBC News, Mogadishu

Militiamen in Mogadishu
Militiamen make money from kidnapping foreigners
Islamist gunmen in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, have raided a studio that dubs Bollywood films into Somali.

The militiamen from the Union of the Islamic Courts confiscated equipment and apprehended five people.

With Somalia's new government split between Mogadishu and the alternative capital, Jowhar, the courts are flexing their muscles in the power vacuum.

They say under Islamic law most entertainment such as music, dancing, and movies are unlawful.

Lately, the Islamic courts militias have destroyed and dismantled drugs dealers' hideouts; incinerated consignments of drugs and home-made alcohol products.

They have also destroyed Mogadishu's largest kidnapping rings.

Their aggressive behaviour against such banditry is gaining them public support.

Defied orders

Bewildered crowds looked on as the militia stormed the building housing Al-Fiqi studios in Hamarweyne district.

Studio chairman Abdihakim Mohamed Haji said no official business was being conducted at the time of the raid and that those taken away were not actors or translators.

But he said televisions were destroyed in the assault and that large amounts of money were also taken.

Chairman of the Union of the Islamic Courts, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, told reporters that he and his colleagues were very proud to have closed down the operations of the biggest movie-dubbing firm in the capital, adding that these people had defied the court's orders.

More than 1,000 film tapes, a computer, mobile phones as well as just under $1,000 and some jewellery had been confiscated, he said.

It would all be handed back, he said, with the exception of the films.

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