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Monday, December 11, 2006


Mogadishu, 11 Dec. (AKI) - Islamists who control Somalia's capital Mogadishu say they have begun collecting taxes to raise money to fund a holy war against foreign troops in the Horn of Africa country. The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) - an alliance of imams and businessmen - captured Mogadishu nearly six months ago and have since implemented Islamic Sharia law, closed cinemas and prohibited football games. Islamists in Karan district, north Mogadishu, have been seen collecting taxes from people trading in livestock, but until now no levies have been imposed on businesses operating in the capital, Mogadishu-based Radio Shabelle reported Monday.

A UIC leader, Sheik Nur Tukuda, said the taxation is meant to fund a "Jihad" against foreign troops in Somalia.

The UIC has repeatedly accused neighbouring Ethiopia of deploying troops to assist the Islamists' main rival, Somalia's transitional government, which is based in Baidoa, near the Ethiopian border. The transitional government started collecting taxes in Baidoa several months ago.

The UIC has in recent weeks made numerous appeals for people to join the fight against the Ethiopian troops and also for business to donate money voluntarily for the campaign.

Ethiopia has repeatedly denied it has sent thousands of combat troops into Somalia, but says it has dispatched several hunderd military trainers and advisors to assist the government in Baidoa.

Announcing the tax collection campaign, the UIC has specified the levies it willl charge on livestock: a goat trader will pay 5,000 Somali shillings (7 US cents) while a cow trader will pay 10,000 (14 US cents) and a camel trader will pay 20,000 (1.05 US dollars). It was not immedialtely clear what other businesses based in the capital would be charged.
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