Somalia: Top opposition leader threatens to continue fighting

Published on Saturday 21st June 2008

Somalia: A key opposition figure in Somalia has rejected the recent peace agreement signed between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the opposition coalition - the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

Yusuf "Indha Ade" Mohamed Siad, the ARS defense secretary, told a Mogadishu-based radio station during a Friday interview that "the fighting will continue until Somalia is liberated from Ethiopian troops."

"I know nothing about that peace deal, therefore it does not concern us," Indha Ade said, while calling on the Somali public to "beware of international conspiracies."

Indha Ade indicated that the ARS delegation  – led ARS Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed  – which signed the peace pact with the TFG on June 9 "does not represent the opposition."

He strongly stated that the Somali people "want Islamic rule," while lambasting the clan-based power sharing system the TFG is founded on.

The former warlord of Lower Shabelle region, Yusuf Indha Ade joined forces with the Islamic Courts Union in early 2006 in a bloody war to secure Mogadishu from U.S.-backed warlords.

He later rose to become defense chief of the ICU militia that once controlled nearly all of southern and central Somalia, until they were ousted from power in December 2006 by the Ethiopian invasion.

He is the second ARS figure to reject the peace agreement; Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an Eritrea-based ARS member whom the U.S. government accues of terror links, has publicly rejected the peace deal and called on loyal fighters to continue the insurgency that has been raging for the past 17 months.

On Friday, medical sources at three Mogadishu-area hospitals confirmed a death toll of 20 from yesterday's insurgent attacks on government and Ethiopian military bases.