Somali Jihad Update from the Mail & Guardian Online:
Thousands of angry Muslims marched through southern Somalia on Friday protesting alleged Ethiopian and United States aggression as fears rose of all-out war between powerful Islamists and the weak government.
Amid soaring tensions following the collapse of peace talks this week in Sudan, at least 3 000 demonstrators rallied for holy war in the town of Jilib, spurred on by vitrolic rhetoric from hardline clerics, witnesses said.
“We saw peace talks in Khartoum derailed by Ethiopia and its puppets,” said Sheikh Mohamed Omar Mursal, the leader of the Islamic court movement in Somalia’s Lower Juba region.
“Our people are ready to protect their religion from the enemies of Allah,” he told the cheering crowd, two days after negotiations failed, with Islamists demanding the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops allegedly in Somalia.
“We are ready to fight you, Ethiopia,” Mursal vowed, repeating claims that about 12 000 Ethiopian soldiers have been sent to protect the government.