Monday, November 5, 2007

Exiled Somali Islamist leader backs insurgents

from Reuters

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, a top official of the Somali Islamic Courts Council who took refuge in Eritrea after Ethiopian forces and Somalia's interim government routed his movement, said the capital's rebels had a duty to liberate their country ... In the latest twist in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi resigned on Monday after a long feud with the president that frustrated their Western backers. Sharif -- who was seen as a relative moderate when his sharia courts ruled Mogadishu and much of south Somalia for six months last year -- was scathing in his assessment of Gedi. "When the coloniser used him and finished with him, he was forced to resign," Sharif said during the telephone interview, referring to Ethiopia ... He declined to divulge the location of the other main leader of Somalia's Islamists, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. Aweys is on U.S. and U.N. lists of al Qaeda suspects and last surfaced at a Somali opposition conference in the Eritrean capital Asmara in September.

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