Cox & Forkum: Somalian Front
Somalia’s prime minister said Tuesday he does not expect any more major fighting against rival Islamic fighters, and his Ethiopian military backer described the operation as within weeks of being completed.With attention shifting to suspected al Qaeda fighters believed to be sheltered by the hard-line group, a security official in neighboring Kenya said 10 foreigners who had fought with Somalia’s Islamic movement had been captured. They had told interrogators the militia was doomed by internal rifts, the official added.
A militant Islamist movement fled from rapidly advancing government forces into a rugged, forested corner of Somalia, as the prime minister offered the Islamist rank and file amnesty if they surrendered.
Diplomats from the region were working to arrange the speedy deployment of African peacekeepers to help the interim government establish its authority in the country, which has known only anarchy for 15 years.
As the last remaining stronghold of the Islamic group was overrun by government troops backed by Ethiopian tanks and MiG fighter jets, the net began closing on suspected al-Qaeda fighters believed to be sheltered by the hardline group.
Neighboring Kenya vowed to seal its frontier to prevent any extremists, now wedged against the sea and their border, from escaping the 13-day military offensive.
Sea routes from southern Somalia were also being patrolled by the U.S. navy, hunting three al-Qaeda suspects believed to be among the Islamic group and wanted for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.
As many as two Somali Islamic fighters who claim to be Canadian were among 10 fighters arrested by Kenyan police, according to separate reports Tuesday.The 10 were arrested on Monday at the Liboi border crossing in Kenya as they tried to flee Somalia, the Kenya Daily Nation reported.
Two were reportedly carrying Canadian passports, while the remaining eight were said to have Eritrean passports. According to the newspaper, all 10 militants were being detained in the Kenyan town of Garissa. It is not known whether they have been charged.
Technorati Tags: Somalia, AlQaeda, Islamists, Ethiopia, Kenya