HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ethiopia Sees Islamist Dominance in Somalia as Threat

Wed, 28 Jun 2006, 01:02

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on June 27 that the Islamic Courts Union which controls Somalia’s capital Mogadishu is dominated by al-Itihaad al-Islamiya members, which posed a threat to Ethiopia.

The United States calls the al-Itihaad al-Islamiya group a "terrorist" faction with links to al-Qaida.

"At the moment the new leadership ... is dominated by Al-Itihaad, an internationally recognized terrorist organization," Meles told a press conference.

The sharia courts appointed Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, named in a U.N. list of al-Qaida associates, to lead their governing council, raising fears they want to install Taliban-style rule.

Meles said the appointment of Aweys, who denies links to terrorism, confirmed that the Islamists were a dangerous group.

"Indeed the chairman of the new council they have established is a certain colonel who also happens to be the head of al-Itihaad," he said.
"Al-Itihaad has been involved in terrorist outrages in Addis Ababa. It is a terrorist organization which has no qualm in planting bombs in hotels and so it would be absolutely prudent for us to take proper precautionary measures," Meles added.

Ethiopia has seen a series of mysterious blasts this year which it blames on various groups, including members of the opposition and separatists rebels.

The Islamists accused Addis Ababa of sending soldiers into Somalia earlier this month, after they moved inland towards the seat of Somalia’s interim government.

Somalia’s interim President Abdullahi Yusuf, a former warlord, is closely allied with Ethiopia, which was instrumental in his election after peace talks in Kenya in 2004.

But Meles said Ethiopia had not sent troops to Somalia nor violated a United Nations arms embargo on Somalia.

"We have not violated the arms embargo and we have not sent troops to Somalia. However we have beefed up our defenses along our border to prevent any threat to our security that might emanate from the resurgence of Jihadists in Mogadishu," he said.

In Somalia on June 27, witnesses said Islamists seized more territory near Mogadishu overnight, prompting accusations they had violated a ceasefire agreement.

In the first attack around Mogadishu since militia loyal to sharia courts took the capital from warlords this month, five people were killed when gunmen seized three checkpoints from a warlord.

Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org