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Shias occupy Basra governor's house
April 05, 2004 22:51 IST
Followers of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr occupied the governor's office in the British controlled southern Iraqi city of Basra Monday, report agencies.
About 1,000 supporters of Sadr were camped inside the house of the governor, Wael Abdul Latif, who had fled earlier. They are demanding the release of Sheikh Yakubi, a Sadr aide apprehended by coalition troops, and the lifting of a US ban on Sadr's newspaper which was accused of inciting tensions in the region. Posters of Sadr were plastered on the gates to the complex, said officials.
"Some members of the Sadr Shia group walked into a government building and occupied it peacefully overnight," said a Ministry of Defence official. "There are talks going now between the group and Iraqi officials."
Basra is controlled by British troops, but neither they nor Iraqi policeman were seen around the complex Monday morning, said CNN.
The incident comes a day after clashes across the country left 34 people, including nine allied soldiers, dead.