Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks at a news conference in Addis Ababa January 10, 2007. Meles said on Wednesday the United States had struck only once in Somali and denied reports that civilians had been killed in the air attack.
None of the top three suspected terrorists in Somalia were killed in a U.S. airstrike this week, but Somalis with close ties to al Qaeda were killed, a senior U.S. official in the region said Thursday.
A day earlier, a Somali official had said a U.S. intelligence report had referred to the death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the three senior al Qaeda members believed responsible for bombing U.S. embassies in East Africa. But U.S. and Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia were still pursuing the three, the U.S. official said Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
Earlier this week, police at the Kenyan coastal border town of Kiunga arrested the wives and several children of two of the embassy bombing suspects, according to an internal police report seen by The Associated Press Wednesday. The suspects’ relatives had slipped across the border, according to the report.
Residents on Thursday reported new fighting between Islamic militiamen and Somali and Ethiopian forces.
The fighting early Thursday in southern Somalia set off a brush fire, residents said by two-way radio. There were reports of as many as 35 deaths.
The fighting comes after Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his forces were carrying out mop-up operations against Islamic militants in the extreme southern corner of Somalia and that he expected to withdraw his troops within a few weeks.
It is a shame they have not killed these Al Qaeda thugs but they have their families and are hunting them down like dogs.
In the meantime, the United States is deploying more ships off the coast for more operations.
U.S. and Somali officials said Wednesday a small American team has been providing military advice to Ethiopian and Somali forces on the ground. The officials provided little detail and spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
Somali officials have said the U.S. had a right to strike, and one even called on America to send in ground troops to help root out al Qaeda extremists and the Islamic militia believed to be sheltering them.
The U.S. Navy has moved additional forces into waters off the Somali coast, where they have conducted security missions, monitoring maritime traffic and intercepting and interrogating crew on suspicious ships.
There were five ships Wednesday: the guided missile destroyer USS Ramage, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, the guided missile cruisers USS Bunker Hill and USS Anzio, and the amphibious landing ship USS Ashland. Officials said they could use the Ashland as a brig for any captured suspects.
The Islamic Courts have been routed and NO longer pose a threat to Somalia. Again Flap directs the reader to Bill Roggio’s excellent piece on the history of the attempted Islamification of Somalia by the Jihadists and Al Qaeda.
Somalia’s President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed (L) and Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer attend a meeting in Nairobi. The international meeting called for urgent funding for a peacekeeping mission in Somalia which the strife-torn African country’s president said was desperately needed.
Western and African diplomats on Friday called for the urgent deployment of peacekeepers in Somalia as al Qaeda’s deputy leader urged defeated Islamists to launch an Iraq-style insurgency against Ethiopian forces there.
The Islamists took control of much of southern Somalia in June but have now been forced into hiding after being routed from their strongholds by Ethiopian military defending Somalia’s interim government in two weeks of full-scale warfare.
They have vowed to fight on, melting into the hills in Somalia’s remote southern tip where Ethiopian and government forces are hunting hundreds of their fighters.
Nairobi has sent troops to seal its frontier, blocking entry to Somali refugees fleeing the conflict. Many fear the Islamists, who fled a last stronghold on New Year’s Day, will mount a holy war against largely Christian Ethiopia.
The Islamists have been routed now it is time for the United Nations or a consortium of western nations to secure the peace or Ethiopia will be forced to route(meaning hunt down and kill) the remaining Islamists nee insurgents.
Somalia’s former army officers stand guard at a building in the capital Mogadishu January 5, 2007. Western and African diplomats called for the urgent deployment of peacekeepers to Somalia as al Qaeda’s deputy leader urged defeated Islamists to launch an Iraq -style insurgency against Ethiopian forces there.
“You must ambush, mine, raid and (carry out) martyrdom campaigns so that you can wipe them out,” Ayman al-Zawahri, deputy to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said in his message.
“As happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the world’s strongest power was defeated by the campaigns of the mujahideen, troops going to heaven, so its slaves shall be defeated on the Muslim lands of Somalia,” he said.
Al-Zawahri’s message, posted on a Web site used by militant Islamist groups, is likely to reinforce Washington’s belief that the Somalia Islamic Courts Council is linked to and even run by an al Qaeda cell, a charge the Islamists have denied.
In Nairobi, the International Contact Group on Somalia, which includes the United States, European and African nations, pushed for a fast deployment of foreign peacekeepers approved by the
United Nations before the war.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer said the security vacuum had to be filled, but played down the significance of the al Qaeda tape.
“I think a lot of bold statements were made by extremists in the Courts, that they were going to kill Somalis, that they were going to stand and fight … and they just ran,” she said.
Easy for al-Zawahri to day since he is hiding in some cave in Pakistan. Make no mistake about it, Ethiopia will not fall prey to an Iraq like insurgency that has stymied the United States.
In the meantime, Somali and Ethiopian troops are preparing to launch a major assault on the last stronghold of Islamic movement militiamen.
Somali troops backed by Ethiopians prepared to launch a major assault Friday on the last stronghold of Islamic movement militiamen. U.S. Navy warships were patrolling off the Somali coast to prevent the militiamen from escaping by sea.
The Somali and Ethiopian force captured a southern town near the Kenyan border Thursday evening. Col. Barre “Hirale” Aden Shire, the Somali defense minister, said Islamic militiamen were dug in with their backs to the sea at Ras Kamboni at the southernmost tip of Somalia.
“Today we will launch a massive assault on the Islamic courts militias. We will use infantry troops and fighter jets,” said Shire, who left for the battle zone on Friday. “They have dug huge trenches around Ras Kamboni but have only two options: to drown in the sea or to fight and die.”
Somali government and Ethiopian troops routed the Council of Islamic Courts militia last week, driving them out of the capital and their strongholds in southern Somalia. The Islamic movement had wanted to rule Somalia by the Quran and some of its leaders had been linked to the al-Qaida terrorist movement.
Former Somali soldiers in different rank uniforms listen to the Transitional Federal Government Prime Minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi, unseen in Mogadishu, Somalia, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. Over the past 15 days, troops of Somalia’s transitional government and Ethiopian forces routed the Islamic movement, which had controlled most of southern Somalia. Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has said he believes major fighting was over. But the Islamic movement has declared it would keep fighting, raising the specter of an Iraq-style guerrilla war.
Islamic fighters hiding in Mogadishu since their movement’s main force was driven from the Somali capital say they will heed al-Qaida’s call for guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings against Ethiopian troops whose intervention was key to the Islamists’ defeat.
“I am committed to die for the sake of my religion and the al-Qaida deputy’s speech only encourages me to go ahead with my holy war,” 18-year-old Sahal Abdi told The Associated Press, referring to an audio message posted on the Internet on Friday.
Troops of Somalia’s transitional government, backed by the Ethiopian military, routed the Islamic militia from much of southern Somalia, ending their six months in power. The group had brought a semblance of stability here but terrified residents with a version of Quranic rule that included public executions and floggings of criminals.
Interviews with militants who fought with the Council of Islamic Courts and went underground when most of their comrades fled Mogadishu last week suggest their movement is fractured and cut off from its leaders but still motivated for battle.
And does anyone REALLY think that Ethiopia will allow the Islamic Court folks an opportunity to organize an insurgency?
Ethiopian soldiers patrol Somalia’s port city of Kismayu, January 5, 2007.
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.
A Somali woman purchase clothes at Bakhara Market Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006, for the Muslim festival of Idd ul-Hajj which will be celebrated on Saturday Dec. 30 2006. Somalia’s Islamic movement abandoned the nation’s capital on Thursday and clan militiamen poured into the streets to take control of Mogadishu, as government forces approached to within 30 kilometers (18 miles). ‘We will capture Mogadishu any time within the coming hours,’ government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told The Associated Press, saying the country was under a state of emergency. ‘We are now at the entry points of the city.’ And the Associated Press is now reporting that government troops have entered Mogadishu.
Triumphant Somali government forces marched into Mogadishu on Thursday after Islamist rivals abandoned the war-scarred city they held for six months before an Ethiopian-backed advance.
The flight of the Islamists was a dramatic turn-around in the volatile Horn of Africa nation after they took Mogadishu in June and spread across the south imposing sharia rule.
Terrified of yet more violence in a city that has become a byword for chaos, some Mogadishu residents greeted the arriving government troops, while others hid.
“People are cheering as they wave flowers to the troops,” said resident Abdikadar Abdulle, adding scores of government military vehicles had passed the Somalia National University west of the city center.
Parts of Mogadishu shook with the sound of gunfire and there were outbreaks of looting after leaders of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) fled its base early in the morning. Some fighters ditched their uniforms to avoid reprisals.
“We have been defeated. I have removed my uniform. Most of my comrades have also changed into civilian clothes,” one former SICC fighter told Reuters. “Most of our leaders have fled.”
So, the Islamists have CUT and RUN as the Global War on Terror continues.
Somalis stand next to a pick-up truck which the Islamists Courts Council surrendered in Mogadishu December 28, 2006.
An old Somali man, name not given, holds his gun in Bakhara market Mogadishu Somali, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006, to defend his family from looters. In Mogadishu, gunfire echoed through the streets and hundreds of gunmen, who just hours earlier fought for Quranic rule, took off their Islamic uniforms and submitted to the command of clan elders.
Somali government troops rolled into Mogadishu unopposed on Thursday, the prime minister said, hours after an Islamic movement that tried to establish a government based on the Quran abandoned the capital.
The Islamic militia promised to take a last stand in southern Mogadishu.
“We are in Mogadishu,” Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi said after meeting with local clan leaders to discuss the handover of the city. “We are coordinating our forces to take control of Mogadishu.”
Well, that did not take long to rout the Islamists. The Ethiopians obviously are not fecking around with the spread of Islamic terrorism across their borders.
Is this a lesson for the world?
For the people of Somalia – yes.
For Islamic appeasers – sadly no!
The Somalia Battlefield on 12/28/2006. Light blue – Ethiopian & TFG advances.
Green – ICU territory. Orange – recent clashes.Â
Bill Roggio has The Islamic Courts Abandons Mogadishu
Read it all…..