Telcos hand their weapons to Islamists

11 Dec 2006

Telecoms companies in the Somali capital of Mogadishu have transferred their heavy weaponry to the Islamic Courts administration under new regulations prohibiting big weapons in public hands. Telcom Somalia, a wireless provider, and Hormuud and Nationlink, which offer fixed and mobile services, handed over 14 ‘battlewagons’ (pick-up trucks mounted with artillery guns) between them. Previously the companies had been using private militias to protect their assets, but new rules have been introduced by the interim Islamist government in the region banning the possession of ‘illegal’ weapons by the public, including private enterprises.