From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jul 21 2005 - 20:30:58 EDT
Islamist hardliner vows 'more war' after Ethiopian pullout
25 Dec 25, 2008 - 1:48:21 PM
ASMARA, Eritrea Dec 25 (Garowe Online) - A Somali Islamist hardliner who
lives in exile in Eritrea has said the war against the Somali interim
government will continue "even if Ethiopian troops withdraw," Radio
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, leader of the Eritrea-based ARS faction, said
on Thursday that he is "doubtful" that Ethiopian forces will withdraw
"The men who returned to Mogadishu made friends with the enemy, and I
believe the enemy is using them," Sheikh Aweys said, while referring to
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, chairman of the Alliance for Re-liberation
of Somalia's (ARS) Djibouti-based faction.
He described the enemy as "Ethiopian soldiers and AMISOM troops," while
referring to a 3,400-strong African Union peacekeeping force from Uganda
He indicated that the fighting would not stop if Ethiopian troops decide
to withdraw, saying: "A new war will start against the Somali government
and its partners."
Sheikh Aweys rejected a report by the Brussels-based International
Crisis Group (ICG), which called for Al Shabaab and the Eritrea-based
ARS faction to be included in the Djibouti peace process.
"We will not accept this [joining peace process] because it is
dishonor," Sheikh Aweys said, while condemning the Djibouti Agreement as
"not in the interests of Somalia."
The Agreement, signed between the Somali government and ARS-Djibouti
faction, called for a ceasefire, the orderly withdrawal of Ethiopian
forces and the establishment of a 'unity government.'
Sheikh Aweys said: "The Djibouti Agreement is intended to allow
Ethiopian troops to withdraw looking like winners, but our goal is for
them [Ethiopian troops] to withdraw humiliated."
He vowed that insurgents would "follow Ethiopian troops on roads they
will use to leave, if they decide to leave."
In 2006, Sheikh Sharif and Sheikh Aweys were the twin leaders of the
Islamic Courts Union (ICU) that captured Mogadishu from U.S.-backed
Following Ethiopia's military intervention later that year, the ICU
militia scattered and began a bloody insurgency to oust the
Ethiopian-backed interim government.
Sheikh Sharif, who leads the ARS-Djibouti faction, returned to Mogadishu
yesterday to promote the Djibouti Agreement and make preparations for
the eventual withdrawal of Ethiopian troops.
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