Rebel Somali leaders urge rebellion against Zenawi’s army.
ASMARA May 8, 2007 – Renegade Somali leaders Tuesday urged all Somalis to “rise together” against Ethiopian forces, accusing the Somali interim government of being a puppet of Addis Ababa and betraying the country. (more…)
ASMARA May 8, 2007 – Renegade Somali leaders Tuesday urged all Somalis to “rise together” against Ethiopian forces, accusing the Somali interim government of being a puppet of Addis Ababa and betraying the country.Top Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, former parliament speaker Sheikh Sharif Hassan Aden, and Hussein Aidid, the country’s deputy premier, said that Somalis should put aside internal quarrels to unite against Ethiopia.
“We call upon all Somali nationals everywhere to forgive and forget their past differences caused by 17 years of civil strife, and rise together against the Ethiopian occupation,” they said in a statement released in Asmara.
We “demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Ethiopian invading forces from all Somali territory,” it added.
Ethiopian forces have been battling Islamist fighters and clan militia since the beginning of the year when they backed Somali government soldiers to oust the Islamist movement from the capital and south and central Somalia.
The latest surge of deadly clashes abated at the end of last month.
The leaders dismissed the legitimacy of the interim government, claiming that it was guilty, along with Ethiopia, of war crimes including “genocide, maiming, raping, [and] systematic destruction of civilian dwellings.”
They also repeated their desire for a broad-based reconciliation conference to forge a national unity government.
The Somali government is planning to hold a reconciliation conference June 16 – subject to availability of funds – but says that leaders of the Islamist Courts Union can only take part as representatives of their clans, not of their movement.
Somalia has been without an effective government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre sparked a bloody power struggle that has defied numerous attempts to restore stability.