Somali President pleads for help as insurgency rises
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Last Updated: Monday, July 05, 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.


First Published: Monday, July 05, 2010, 21:02

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