Islamic Courts flees Kismayu
Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) fighters have fled from their final stronghold around the southern Somali port town of
"Nobody knows where they went. There's a lot of confusion."
The besieged Islamic Courts had rallied several thousand fighters at Jilib, just north of Kismayu on the shores of the Indian Ocean, after a retreat south 300km from the capital,
Ethiopian occupation troops had rained down mortars and rockets on the Islamic Courts men dug in near Kismayu on Sunday to start a battle against them.
Fearing a blood bath, residents ran for their lives, carrying blankets, food and water on their heads.
Jilib lies about 45km north of Kismayu, where Islamic Courts leaders Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed are based.
The Ethiopian force marched into Kismayu on Monday, but troops were slowed by having to clear mines left by Islamic Courts fighters on the road in.
Some residents took advantage of the temporary power vacuum to loot the Islamic Courts' arsenal in Kismayu.
A witness saw dozens grabbing machine guns and heavy weapons to carry away.
Now Ethiopians has control of
Osman Mohamed, an aid worker, said: "Two-thirds of the population in Jilib have fled the town... nearly 4,700 have fled."
The Islamic Courts have built trenches with bulldozers and have more than 60 "technicals" - pickup trucks mounted with heavy weapons - supporting about 3,000 fighters, witnesses say.
Last Islamic militant stronghold in