The jihad continues in Somalia, as in so many other places. From AFP: “Somali Islamists vow to crush resistance as last warlord flees”
MOGADISHU (AFP) – Islamists now in full control of the Somali capital vowed to “destroy” all resistance to their religious rule as the city’s last secular warlord fled after surrendering in fierce battles.
Islamic militia scoured southern Mogadishu for weapons still outside their hands following the defeat late Monday of warlord Abdi Hassan Awale Qeydiid in bloody clashes that left at least 100 dead since the weekend.
“I am urging all armed militiamen who are not working with the Islamic courts to surrender their weapons immediately,” said Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, executive chief of the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS).
“Otherwise, they will be responsible for their actions,” he told reporters. “Any attempt to fight the Islamic courts is pointless. We are committed to put Mogadishu under one leadership.
“You cannot have weapons and act against the Islamic courts,” Ahmed said. “Any group that tries to fight the Islamic courts will be destroyed. The Islamic courts have overcome the infidel stooges.”
His comments came as heavily-armed Islamic militia seized at least 35 blood-stained battlewagons — pick-ups mounted with heavy machine guns also known as “techicals” — from Qeydiid and his ally Abu Shukri.
Some 500 of Qeydiid’s fighters turned in their weapons after elders mediated his surrender that came after two days of heavy fighting, witnesses said.
“They were holed up in several buildings and we were pounding them with artillery and mortar shells from every corner,” Islamist militia commander Abdi Shakur told AFP. “There was no other option for them but to surrender.”
Qeydiid had been the lone holdout from a vanquished US-backed warlord alliance formed in February to fight the increasingly powerful Islamists but left the city after surrendering late Monday, witnesses said.
His whereabouts were unknown but several sources said he fled his headquarters in southern Mogadishu’s K5 neighborhood overnight after his forces suffered heavy casualties.
“Qeydiid was sneaked out overnight and we can’t see him in his compound,” said one top Islamic militia commander, adding that elders from his Sa’ad sub-clan probably arranged the escape.
The Islamists now control all of Mogadishu and have been tightening their religious grip on the capital since seizing most of it on June 5 from the warlords.
Meanwhile, a rift emerged within Somalia’s largely powerless transitional government on Tuesday over whether to meet with representatives of the Islamic courts as scheduled in Sudan at the weekend.
On Monday, the deputy prime minister and interior minister Hussein Aideed, who had been supporting Qeydiid, said the government would not meet with hardline Islamists at the weekend in Sudan as had been planned.
But on Tuesday, the minister of state for parliament and government relations Abdurahman Aden Ibrahim said the meeting would go ahead and castigated Aideed for his comments critical of the Islamists.
And here’s an impressive string of buzzwords and catchphrases that will accomplish nothing:
“We must reach a real reconciliation within our country to stabilize it and bring it back as a full member among the nations of the world,” Ibrahim said in a statement released in the Kenyan capital.
The split is characteristic of infighting that has prevented the government from asserting control over any significant part of the lawless country, which has been in throes of chaos for the past 15 years.