Somali rebels who deposed President Mohamed Siad Barre and forced him to flee celebrated his ouster in a radio broadcast Monday that appealed to workers in the African nation's capital to begin restoring power, water and other services.
Barre's whereabouts, meanwhile, remained unclear nearly two days after the autocratic ruler fled his capital Mogadishu in a tank, effectively handing power to the rebels after 21 years of his rule.Unconfirmed reports filtered into Kenya that the president, in his 80s, had reached the southern coastal town of Kismayu, 270 miles from Mogadishu, where a garrison remained loyal to him. Somali dissident groups in Nairobi said Barre was seeking any transportation to destinations such as Saudi Arabia and Kenya.
Rebels of the United Somali Congress entered Barre's palace in Mogadishu Saturday night, ending 21 years of his rule and a month's fighting for control of the capital.
A spokesman for the Franco-Belgian agency Doctors Without Frontiers in Mombasa, Kenya, said staff in Mogadishu had confirmed the rebels controlled the whole of the Indian Ocean city, including the airport.
The rebels Monday broadcast an appeal for workers in essential services to return to work amid reports fighting in the city was dying down.
A jubilant rebel spokesman, whose broadcast was monitored in Nairobi, told listeners, "Somali people, wherever they may be, rejoice at the removal of Afweyneh's regime after 21 years repressive rule."
"Afweyneh," or "Big Mouth," is the Somali nickname for Barre.
"The USC forces have been holding a very major celebration in which the Somali people gladly took part," he said.
The rebels called for electricity, mail, media, water and health workers to start rebuilding shattered Mogadishu, which has had no power or proper water for weeks. , and where bodies left in the streets were being eaten by dogs.