Saturday, September 30, 2006

Somalia: Al Itihad officials reach Mogadishu, Somaliland issues warning

An Islamist delegation that left the self-declared and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland (northwest Somalia) arrived in Mogadishu Thursday at the invitation of the Islamic Courts Council that controls much of southern Somalia.

The 3-member delegation from Somaliland was led by Sheikh Ali Warsame, a former leader of the Somali Islamist al-Itihad al-Islaami movement that battled the Ethiopian government in the 1990s.

Sheikh Ali Warsame is a member of the Islamists' Shura (Consultative) Committee, which is chaired by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.

Sources said Sheikh Ali Warsame's arrival in Mogadishu is part of a plan to establish an Islamic Court that would operate in Somaliland regions.

Meanwhile, Yusuf Isse Du'ale, Somaliland's justice minister, warned the Islamists against any attempts to reach Somaliland-controlled areas during a press conference in Hargeisa.

He warned that Hargeisa and Burao – major cities in Somaliland – "will not be like Mogadishu and Kismayo," referring to two south Somalia cities that fell Islamist control.

Both Puntland and Somaliland – two sub-states in northern Somalia – have repeatedly expressed worry of Islamist expansion into their respective regions under the guise of local Islamists.

Garowe Online News

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