Islamic fundamentalists whose ideology is similar to the Taliban seized control of Somalia's capital Mogadishu yesterday
The advance against a secular alliance rumoured to be backed by Washington comes after weeks of bloody fighting and 15 years of anarchy in this Horn of Africa nation, raising fears that Somalia could fall under the sway of al Qaida.
"We won the fight against the enemy of Islam, Mogadishu is under control of its people," Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Courts Union, said on a radio broadcast.
The militia now controls a 65-mile radius around the capital. It is gaining ground just as the UN-backed interim government struggles to assert control outside its base in Baidoa, 155 miles from Mogadishu.