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Guns banned from Somali streets

BBC | May 05, 2007 

The new mayor of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, has banned people from carrying weapons on the streets.

Former warlord Mohamed Dheere announced the ban at his inauguration ceremony, following his appointment last week.

The move is seen as a big step forward in the process of restoring stability to Somalia, which has not had a working government in 16 years.

The government last week ended a six-week operation against Islamist and clan fighters in the city.

Some 1,600 people were killed in the clashes, local aid groups say.

Tinted windows

Mr Dheere announced that those who flouted the ban would be punished but did not give details.

Only government security forces would be allowed to carry weapons, he said.

New police chief Abdi Hassan "Qaybdiid" Awale - also a former warlord - announced a ban on tinted windows in the city.

"Anyone who fails to abide by these rules will be brought before the court," he said.

The new measures come a day after prominent companies handed their weapons over to African Union peacekeepers and said they would trust the government to look after their security.

The business community had set up its own security teams to protect their operations from rogue militiamen during Somalia's years of lawlessness.

Until last week, when the government announced victory against the Islamists, weapons were openly on sale in the Mogadishu market.

But the BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in the city says the Ethiopian-backed government troops closed down the arms bazaar.

However, he says the dealers were allowed to keep their weapons.

Somalia is awash with guns after 16 years of civil war.

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