Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interview: Somali insurgency to intensify - Islamist leader

Katie Nguyen, Reuters (UK)

In his first comments to Reuters since going into hiding a year ago, Muktar Ali Robow said al-Shabab (the military wing of Somalia's Islamist movement) had killed nearly 500 Ethiopian soldiers and would fight until foreign troops left the Horn of Africa country. "We are now planning to launch the most enormous attacks on the government and Ethiopian main positions. We will allow no foreign forces in our land. In the past days the infidel troops of Ethiopians along with their puppets and al-Shawab al-Mujahideen have fought heavily in Mogadishu. We have raided the enemies' military bases showering them with mortar shells," he said, referring to his "Movement of Young Mujahideen" faction ... Also known as "Abu Mansoor", Robow was the Islamic Courts' deputy defence secretary before the movement that ruled Mogadishu and most of south Somalia for six months was ousted by allied Somali-Ethiopian forces in the New Year. His al-Shabab has since spearheaded an Iraq-style insurgency, waging near-daily roadside bombings, grenade attacks and shootings against government and Ethiopian positions ... The Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) had run widely despised warlords, who enjoyed U.S. backing, out of Mogadishu in June 2006 with decisive victories.

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