Sunday, January 01, 2006

Somaliland paper reveals plans of covert fundamentalist group

Text of report by Somaliland independent daily newspaper Haatuf on 30 December

Secret documents about a conference by a religious fundamentalist organization known as Al-Itisam, held in Mogadishu in May 2005, shows that the organization has clandestine representatives in Somaliland and in other parts of the world.

The organization, believed to have been an off-shoot of the Al-Ittihad [fundamentalist] group, was launched in 1997, and acquired a new name as its mother body, the Al-Ittihad, had received a serious devastating blow following its involvement in series of wars from 1991 to 1996, with an aim of ruling the Somali-inhabited regions in the Horn of Africa.

This secret document, a copy of which was obtained by Haatuf [newspaper], contained resolutions and plans set forth by the top cadres of Al-Itisam at their general assembly in Mogadishu 10-18 May 2005. The conference was attended by some senior members of the [current] factions of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia [TFG], including those based in Jowhar and Mogadishu, as well as some extremist religious individuals who had come from Somaliland.

Among the topics discussed at the conference included how to reform the organization; the position to be adopted by the organization on issues of current political situation; Jihad, the fight against foreign troops, parliamentary representation, assassination plans of secret foreign agents, among others.

In the end, the following were among the resolutions adopted at the conference: that preparations for Jihad should be a top priority in order to recover from the setbacks suffered by the organization; however, it was passed that Jihad activities should be halted temporarily. That the name and existence of the organization should be declared in public, while keeping its secrets undisclosed; that the fight against foreign troops should be a high priority; that assassination of foreign agents and spies should not be rushed into without clear and concrete evidence on the matter; that participation in parliamentary elections should not be prohibited or allowed to take place uncontested depending on the existing circumstances while conditions should be set for any person willing to participate in it. That the organization will not take the responsibility of any act by young jihadist in case they carried out operations not compliant with the Islamic shari'ah.

During the conference, the participants elected a new Amir [leader] and council members of the organization, who comprised 44 officials as follows: eight members for southern [Somali] regions; five for northern regions [Somaliland]; four members for eastern region [Puntland]; two for western region [Somali regional State of Ethiopia]; one for Djibouti and two for East Africa.

Arab states, the Indian sub-continent, Western Europe, and Australia were each represented by one official. The Amir has been mandated to nominate six more officials [for various representations].

Copyright © 2005 BBC Monitoring/BBC. Source: Financial Times Information Limited.

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