For Somalis caught between Islamists and weak government, fleeing is only option

By Sudarsan Raghavan

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, April 17, 2010

IFO, KENYA -- Two Islamist militants delivered an ultimatum to Zahra Allawi's daughters: marry them or die. The men were from al-Shabab, a militia linked to al-Qaeda that is fighting Somalia's U.S.-backed government. The two girls were 14 and 16.

Allawi said her neighbor in southeastern Somalia received the same command. But he swiftly married off his daughter to someone else. The next day, the fighters returned with a butcher's knife.

"They slaughtered him like a goat," she recalled.

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