From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Nov 21 2008 - 07:12:14 EST
Somali opposition leader vows 'holy war'
Thu, 20 Nov 2008 19:08:10 GMT
Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the Asmara-based oppositionists.
A senior Somali opposition leader has promised to sustain the 'holy war' on the country's government while refusing to compromise with rivals.
"We stick to holy war, we stick to liberation," said the head of the Somali opposition group, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC)'s offshoot in Asmara, Eritrea, the Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported on Thursday.
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys made the remarks taking to task UIC's Djibouti wing, lead by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, over their recent conclusion of a peace agreement with the country's transitional government.
The settlement, aimed at relieving the differences between the government and the oppositionist, accounted for the bipolar division within the group.
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, head of the rivalling opposition wing in Djibouti.
Dahir Aweys dissociated his devotees from those of the rivaling camp's saying "these men (Sheikh Sharif's faction) have joined the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) who were fighting us. They signed an agreement with them. We still stick to our position, we stick to fighting."
He also delivered a strong warning to Kenya amid news that the country was to deploy peacekeeping forces to the Horn of Africa nation.
"I understand that Kenya is planning to deploy up to Kismayu town (in southern Somalia). Kenya should not burn the thatched house that it is living in."
The shortage of a viable central administration since 1991 has contributed to unceasing confrontation between the government and the oppositionists who have recently stretched their domain in the violence-scarred country.
Somalia pirates attract UN attention
Thu, 20 Nov 2008 14:25:46 GMT
The Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star
The UN has expressed concern over new ship hijackings in Somali waters, calling for concerted efforts to fight Horn of Africa pirates.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on Wednesday, expressing concern over 'new acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia in recent days' and reiterated 'his condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea wherever they occur'.
According to the statement, Ban has been working closely with the Somali government, the IMO (International Maritime Organization), NATO, the European Union and various UN member states to ensure concerted efforts to fight piracy.
The statement adds that the UN welcomes the deployment of a maritime mission in the region and supports efforts to send patrol vessels to the dangerous waters.
The notorious Somali waters have witnessed a sharp rise in attacks by pirates who have hijacked five vessels in the past week, one of which was the Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star. The ship was carrying USD 100 million worth of oil.
Pirates have been storming ships and holding their crew hostage, demanding huge sums of ransom in return for their release.
The EU has recently agreed to deploy an air and naval force off the coast of Somalia to guard the route, which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East. The European naval mission is also expected to help protect food shipments to Somalia and ensure the delivery of aid to the impoverished Horn of Africa country.
South Korea plans to dispatch special forces to the region in addition to a 4,500-ton destroyer loaded with SM-2 Block IIIA missiles and other cutting-edge weaponry, Xinhua reported.
The decision follows the seizure of the Saudi-owned oil carrier, the largest vessel ever hijacked at sea. The incident has raised fears in South Korea as it heavily relies on imported oil to fuel its industrial economy.
Three days earlier, Japanese freighter Chemstar Venus with a crew of five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos had been stormed in the pirate-infested waters.
S Arabia may use 'force' against pirates
Thu, 20 Nov 2008 18:09:39 GMT
Sadi Arabia may use 'military force' to release the giant vessel, Sirius Star.
Saudi Arabia is likely to use military force to rescue a giant oil tanker recently seized by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa.
The country might attempt at a 'military-style rescue operation' to salvage the Saudi-owned vessel, Sirius Star and its 25 crewmembers, the Saudi daily Okaz quoted an official enlisted with the country's Border Guards as saying on Thursday.
On November 15, the US Navy reported the capture of the tanker and its reportedly Saudi, Filippino, Polish, Croatian and British crew by the bandits southeast of the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.
The 330-meter long tanker was sailing under a Liberian flag while possessed by the Saudi oil firm Aramco. It was heading for the United States through the Cape of Good Hope.
Alarmed by the incident, the country has begun a security study of its tankers and cargo vessels which happen to cross the trouble-ridden Gulf of Aden.
No immediate plans had been devised, the official however, added.
The pirates, with their increased firepower, have become the shipping companies' nemesis prompting the international community to subject the trouble-ridden waters to strict naval surveillance.
Somalia's territorial waters, posing the utmost threat, have witnessed more than 80 cases of piracy this year alone.
As part of their usual practice in case of sensitive cargoes, the pirates have asked USD 25 million for the release of the tanker which reportedly carries about 316 million liters of oil.
Protraction of the standoff would prompt the vessels crossing the area to seek protection from regional watchdogs which could "cause a large rise in transport expenses for importers," said the Transport and Marine Services Committee member Yousuf Al-Turki.
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