Garowe Online (Garowe)

7 February 2009

Somalia: Islamic Party Insurgents Declare War On New Govt

The newly appointed chairman of the Islamic Party, Dr. Omar Iman, has declared war on Somalia's new 'unity government' led by Islamist politician Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Radio Garowe reports.

"The jihad is not over until we confirm that the country [Somalia] is liberated from enemy forces and their collaborators," said Dr. Iman, a high-ranking member of the Eritrea-based Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

He compared President Sheikh Sharif's new government to that of ex-President Abdullahi Yusuf, who resigned in December under international pressure for refusing to negotiate with the Islamist-led opposition.

"Sheikh Sharif has joined the government (TFG) that brought Ethiopian troops [to Somalia] and he adopted their [TFG] constitution and we oppose this," Dr. Iman added.

The Islamic Party was formed last week after four insurgent groups - ARS-Eritrea, Jabhatul Islamiya, Mu'askar Ras Kamboni and Anole - joined forces to battle against President Sheikh Sharif and the anticipated 'unity government' he will build.

This group, and others like Al Shabaab, have rejected the UN-backed Djibouti peace process that began in June 2008 and resulted with Sheikh Sharif being elected Somali president late last month.

On Saturday, President Sheikh Sharif landed in the capital Mogadishu for the first time since being elected. His new residence, the Villa Somalia presidential compound, came under mortar attack later today.

Somalia has been mired in endless conflict since the early 1990s. The Horn of Africa country is facing one of the worst security and humanitarian crises in the world.

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