First Published: 2006-12-23

 
Somali Courts capture government position
 

Islamic Courts Union capture Idale outpost 60 kilometres south of Baidoa as battles continue.

 

Middle East Online

By Mustafa Haji Abdinur – MOGADISHU

Provisional ‘government’ has virtually no influence outside Baidoa

Somali Islamic Courts Uninion said Saturday their fighters had captured a frontline position from Ethiopian-backed government forces as a fourth day of bloody battles raged in the lawless nation's southern region.

Islamic Courts information chief Abdurahim Ali Muddey said their fighters had seized the Idale outpost, some 60 kilometres (40 miles) south of Baidoa, the seat of the interim government which is being backed by Ethiopian troops.

"Our Islamic fighters have taken control of Idale and are heading to other parts where Tigray (Ethiopian) invaders are now based, by the will of God, we will liberate our people and country from the Ethiopian invaders," he said.

"They (Ethiopians) attacked us three times this morning and each time, we pushed them back," the Islamists' security chief Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siad Indo'adhe told a press conference.

Information Minister Ali Jama did not confirm the seizure, but acknowledged that "fighting is raging in Idale."

The fresh violence drew calls for restraint from the international community, with the United Nations and African Union regional grouping urging an immediate end to the fighting.

Ethiopia is supporting Somalia's weakened government against the Islamist forces, which control the capital Mogadishu and much of the rest of the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.

Fighting erupted early Wednesday, hours after the expiry of an Islamist-imposed ultimatum to Ethiopia to withdraw the thousands of troops the Islamic Courts say Addis Ababa has deployed in the country.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the fighting had left "dozens" dead.

For its part the government says its Ethiopian-backed forces have splayed more than 500 Islamist fighters since Wednesday, while the Islamic Courts spoke of killing at least 70 enemy combatants.

Muddey said Islamic Courts forces were pushing back the Ethiopian-backed troops.

"This war is between Somalia and Tigray invaders. The forces have been pressed and they are losing in the battlefields," he added.

"The invaders have been repelled, we have a lot of their bodies here and are going to show the media, we have their ID cards, pictures with their wives and other equipment," he said.

The fighting on twin fronts has forced thousands of residents to flee.

"People are really scared because both sides are using heavy artillery shells and other weapons," Haji Hassan Dhubow, a resident of Goof Gaduud village southwest of Baidoa, said.

"I have seen many people fleeing with their children," he said.

Witnesses said Ethiopian tanks faced off with Islamic fighters in Daynunay, a flashpoint garrison town about 30 kilometres to the east of Baidoa, but there was no direct confrontation.

The fighting and war of words have come despite a statement by European Commission humanitarian chief Louis Michel on Wednesday that he had secured the commitment of both sides to observe a truce and resume peace talks.

Ethiopia is supporting Somalia's weaken provisional government against the Islamic forces, which control the capital Mogadishu and much of the rest of the Horn of Africa nation.

 

UAE warns Qatar to take neighbours' demands 'seriously'

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

Nine killed in Iraq suicide bomb attack

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi crown prince

Algeria leader drops Panama Papers libel suit vs Le Monde

Morocco detains three as Rif protests continue

Israel starts work on new settlements amid Trump 'peace' push

At least 10 dead in Mogadishu suicide attack

Iraq forces advance in Mosul Old City

Yemen cholera death toll passes 1,100

Iran-made drone shot down by US plane in Syria

Raqa’s own battle to liberate hometown from IS rule

Saudi, Iraq hail 'qualitative leap' in relations

French journalist killed in Mosul

Iran protests against Tillerson 'transition' comments

Saudi foils ‘terrorist act’ in territorial waters

Ex-Barclays CEO charged with fraud over Qatar funding

London mosque terror attack suspect named in media