Somalia goes hardline on food

June 29, 2009 12:00 am

, MOGADISHU, Jun 29 – Somalia’s hardline Islamist group Shebab on Monday raided Mogadishu’s main market to hunt for traders stocking expired food, warning that offenders would face trial for "un-Islamic behaviour".

Dozens of fighters from the armed group — which controls much of the capital as part of a deadly insurgency against the government — swept Bakara market for food goods past their sell-by date.

"It is a supreme responsibility for us to fight those people harming our society by selling expired food to the people, it is un-Islamic behaviour," Shebab official Sheikh Ali Mohamed Husein told reporters.

"Our forces raided the market today and we found around five shops where rotting food was stored. We closed them down and we will continue until we get rid of all of them," he explained.

"Starting today, traders should clean their stores and discard all expired commodities within five days or face a Sharia court," the cleric added.

War-torn Somalia has had no effective central authority for almost two decades and traders have made brisk business importing rejected or expired-date goods from neighbouring countries.

The Shebab, a group inspired by Al-Qaeda ideology, has in recent weeks stepped up its enforcement of Sharia, or Islamic law, and on several occasions set up ad-hoc courts to sentence offenders.

Last week, four men accused of robbery had their right hand and left foot hacked off in public in Mogadishu while another individual accused of rape and murder was buried up to his neck and stoned to death in the town of Wanlaweyn.


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