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Somali Islamists say ready for war against Ethiopia

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Jan 11, 2007 (MOGADISHU) — A Somali Islamist leader said that the Islamic courts militias are spread over various places in the country. He pledged that they are ready to wage a long war against Ethiopian army.

The Somali Islamic Courts Council (SICC) deputy leader Sheikh Abdiqadir Ali Omar told the Islam Today that The SICC leadership is spread over various places with majority of them currently based at a place very close to Kismayo city. He further added that pulling out of Mogadishu does not mean that “we have been defeated.”

Omar further affirmed that they are ready to "wage a long war with the Ethiopian forces because the land of this Muslim people has been captured and their sanctity buried."

The following is the text of interview with Somali Islamic Courts Council deputy leader Sheikh Abdiqadir Ali Omar by Islamic news agency Islam Today as published by Somali Union of Islamic Courts website Qaadisiya.com on 11 January. The BBC MS translated the text form the Somali to English:

- To begin with, tell us about the situation in the Somali capital, Mogadishu?

Omar: The situation of Mogadishu city is very bad since there is a big number of Ethiopian troops and their allies who have entered in the city and are terrorizing the people. Forces belonging to the Islamic courts are still based in some parts of Mogadishu, although they live in difficult conditions, and we ask God to make them prevail over the oppressors.

- Where are the leaders of the SICC headed to now and how do you view the rapid destruction of the courts?

Omar: The SICC leadership is spread over various places with majority of them currently based at a place very close to Kismayo city. However, because we pulled out of Mogadishu and other places, it does not mean that we have been defeated, neither are we going to surrender to the Ethiopian invaders.

- Do the courts still have forces inside Mogadishu?

Omar: As you know, the whole public was part and parcel of the courts and supporters of the courts. Even now the forces of the courts have not been routed from Mogadishu, while others are in different regions of the country. You should know that the people were the courts and they will continue supporting it until what is going on now in the country is ended.

- Do you have the capacity to destroy the Ethiopians who have entered the country?

Omar: Ethiopia entered the country with up to 20,000 troops, thousands of them are now based in Mogadishu and its environs, but the majority of them are in Kismayo and other nearby towns.

- In which areas are the clashes going on at the moment, because we heard that you clashed with the invading Ethiopian troops yesterday, specifically in the southern parts of the country, plus reports of US air strikes against your bases there?

Omar: Surely, US planes today raided southern parts of Kismayo and Kiya village, which is just near there, with fierce fighting going on in southern part of Kismayo town, pitting the SICC forces against the Ethiopians and their puppets.

- The president of the Transitional Federal Government has rejected entering dialogue with SICC while US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer has called for talks between your side and the TFG; so, what do you say about that?

Omar: The Somali government, as you are aware, is a department that receives directives and there is nothing it can decide concerning the country’s affairs because it is part of the Washington Administration and Ethiopia. Particularly, it is Meles Zenawi who dictates what the TFG should do. So, it does not matter to us what they say.

- Are there certain quarters that have contacted you, be they Arab or Muslim states, so that talks could be held between you and the TFG, following your departure from Mogadishu?

Omar: As you know, the Arab League has called for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia, but we have not yet seen any positive response to that effect. You are aware that Ethiopia has invaded Somali territory. The war is between crusaders and Muslims and it is taking place inside Somalia, with the whole world is just watching what is happening in Somalia, doing nothing to stop the aggression of the Ethiopian enemy against Somalia.

- What can you do about the humanitarian situation in the country while at the same time defeating the Ethiopian invader? What will be the situation of the citizens in terms of health and the general livelihood in Somalia?

Omar: It is common knowledge that the Somalis are impoverished people who had been exhausted by the many civil wars. They are, once again, being faced by enmity of the foolish crusaders, besides problems caused by flooding that has destroyed many families and houses. However, we trust Allah and we have resolved to remain in our regions and carry out Jihad in order to destroy those aggressing against us.

- Are you planning for a long war against the Ethiopian invader, and are you prepared for that?

Omar: Yes, we are ready to wage a long war with the Ethiopian forces because the land of this Muslim people has been captured and their sanctity buried. So, they have no other option but to carry out Jihad against the infidels and to liberate the land from them, we hope Allah will give us the victory against them.

- Finally, what do you expect from your Arab brothers; their people and their government since the country is in a sad situation?

Omar: We are asking the Muslim people to lend a helping hand to their Somali brothers and assist them on what matters now, and also help them with prayers that may Allah give them the victory against the aggressors, God Willing.

(ST)

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