Somalia Jihad Update. “Fugitive Somali Islamist urges jihad on AU troops,” by Aweys Yusuf for Reuters:
MOGADISHU, Nov 15 (Reuters) – A Somali Islamist commander, thought to be al Qaeda’s man in Mogadishu, has ordered his fighters to attack African Union (AU) peacekeepers in rare taped comments intended to bolster an anti-government insurgency.
Somali Web sites that posted the 20-minute recording named the speaker as Aden Hashi Ayro, who has been in hiding since his sharia courts group was ousted from its southern strongholds by joint Somali-Ethiopian forces in January.
One of a group targeted by a U.S. air strike that month, the militant urged Somalis to wage holy war on foreign troops and accused Uganda of invading by sending 1,700 peacekeepers to Somalia — the vanguard of a planned 8,000-strong AU force.
“Like Ethiopia, Uganda also invaded our country. We will fight and assassinate their officers. All other African troops sent to Somalia will face the same fate,” he said on the tape, the authenticity of which could not be independently verified.
“We promise as long as we are alive we will continue the jihad.”
Uganda said it was not deterred by Ayro’s threats, which surfaced as Burundi prepared to deploy hundreds of troops to the Horn of Africa nation where anarchy has ruled for 16 years.
“It does not change anything,” said Uganda’s army spokesman, Major Felix Kulayigye. “If anything, we expected to receive threats against us.”
Ayro, who security and intelligence sources say trained in assassination and insurgency tactics in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, vowed to take the fighting to the Ethiopian capital.
“They beheaded our children, women and elderly people in Mogadishu and we must behead theirs in Addis Ababa,” he said.
From earlier today: “Insurgents attack Ugandan troops in Somali capital,” also by Aweys Yusuf for Reuters:
MOGADISHU, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Islamist rebels firing grenades attacked Ugandan peacekeepers early on Saturday in Mogadishu and briefly entered their base, but a spokesman for the African Union force said it suffered no casualties.
The overnight raid, which set off a 90-minute battle, took place two days after a fugitive Islamist commander believed to be al Qaeda’s man in the Somali capital ordered his fighters to target the Ugandans and kill their officers.
“We killed one insurgent. His body is still lying there,” AU spokesman Captain Paddy Ankunda told Reuters.
“There are no casualties on our side. They attacked us in two groups using machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades and we defended ourselves. We have a mandate to defend ourselves.”