Somali President pleads for help as insurgency rises

Last Updated: Monday, July 5, 2010 - 21:02

Addis Ababa: Somali President Sharif Sheikh
Ahmed pleaded for help on Monday at a regional summit, as an al
Qaeda-inspired insurgency closed in on his Mogadishu palace.

Sharif told a summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority
on Development (IGAD) in the Ethiopian capital that his
war-torn country was "in the hands of al Qaeda and extremist
groups. The whole issue needs urgent treatment."

"I would like to tell you that Somalia is going through
its most dangerous phase in recent times and we are asking for
intensified efforts in order to set up an effective military
strategy," he told leaders from the six-nation bloc.

IGAD leaders met for emergency talks in Addis Ababa in
following intensified clashes in Mogadishu between Islamist
insurgents and Somali government troops backed by the African
Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Yesterday, the leader of the al Qaeda-inspired Shebab
militia, Mohamed Abdi Godane, urged "the Somali people to
unite to fight against the enemy of Allah," in an audio
message.

"We know that the people in Mogadishu were honoured with
two previous victories. They won the war against the Americans
and the Ethiopians, and the fight against AMISOM will be the
final victory by God`s will," he said.

The United States withdrew its troops from Somalia after
an ill-fated mission in the early 1990s, while Ethiopia pulled
out in early 2009 following a two-year invasion.

PTI




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