Somalis in US split over Islamic extremists' success

The largest community of Somali refugees in the U.S. was torn by the news that Islamic militants had taken the capital city of Mogadishu, with some expressing hope Tuesday that the change would help end years of fighting.

"Most of the community feel it's for the better," said Saeed Fahia, executive director of the Federation of Somali Communities Minnesota. "They think that at least one of the fighting groups are out of the picture, the warlords. They see it bringing some conclusion to the civil war."

There are about 30,000 Somalis refugees in the northern state of Minnesota , with about 25,000 of them in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Some worry the apparent victory Monday by the Islamic Courts Union militia will fuel more violence. The militia took the capital by driving out fighters of a secular alliance backed by the U.S. government, which fears the nation of 8 million could fall under the sway of al-Qaida.

It was the first time any group consolidated control of Mogadishu since the nation descended into anarchy 15 years ago. Control of the city had been split among squabbling warlords.

The Horn of Africa nation has a United Nations-backed interim government operating in Baidoa, 155 miles (250 kilometers) from Mogadishu. It has little power over the country, however, and on Tuesday there were fears it would come under attack from the Islamist militia.

Abdi Mohamed, a cab driver from Minneapolis, said he hoped the group that seized power in Mogadishu will decide instead to work with the interim government.

"They have to sit down with their government together and find a solution," he said. "If they behave like the Taliban, I think people won't accept it."

Raho Warsame, a property manager in the Twin Cities, said her home country was in desperate need of any change that could lead to a permanent government.

"It's better than before," she said. "It's not a group against any group. They're not really looking for power; they're looking for something that works for everyone," reports AP.

O.Ch.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team