Somalia’s Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has arrived in Mogadishu, a day after his Ethiopian-backed forces drove Islamist rivals from the city they’d ruled by Sharia law since June. Gedi was met by supporters of his western-backed interim government – and promised he would stay in Mogadishu “forever” saying he was there to start work.
However, Gedi is largely dependent on the support of his Ethiopian backers and the immediate future is highly uncertain – many analysts believe he urgently needs to build alliances with local tribal leaders if he’s to consolidate his power base. There were sporadic demonstrations against the Ethiopian presence in Mogadishu on Friday but most Islamist fighters appear to have moved further south and critical confrontations may yet be to come. The unknown factor is the extent to which Islamist forces have been depleted by the fighting over the past two weeks – the Red Cross is speaking of hundreds of deaths in what it calls Somalia’s heaviest fighting for a decade.