Nairobi — The deputy leader of the Islamist coalition ruling Kismayu, Sheikh Abdulgani Mohamed Yusuf, has declared war on Somalia's neighbours.
He singled out Kenya and Ethiopia as being hostile to his movement and Somalia at large.
Sheikh Abdulgani minced no words in proclaiming late on Monday that the Islamists were ready to strike against Ethiopian and Kenyan territories.
He reiterated that they will first strike Ethiopia because of its recent intervention in Somalia.
Had been defeated
"Relying on Allah, our Mujahideen (holy warriors) will attack Ethiopia directly," said Sheikh Abdulgani.
"They had been defeated in the past on our soil and will be crashed on their territory," he added. The sheikh informed his fighters that the plans were in response to threats from Kenya and Ethiopia.
"We want to encourage the Muslim Somali people and the fighters to get ready for attacks against Kenya and Ethiopia," said the clergyman.
"We are going to take the jihad to their houses before they come to ours," he added.
It is the first time the Islamists in Kismayu town have issued threats to the neighbouring countries.
On June 20, the Transitional Federal Government pleaded with the international community, especially the neighbouring countries, to intervene in Somalia militarily to save the country from falling into the hands of the Islamists, Al-Shabaab and Hizbu Islam.
Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur Madobe, the Speaker of the Parliament, alluded to a threat to neighbouring countries and world at large if the Islamists were not stopped.
Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in 2006 to oust an Islamist movement from the capital in which new President Sheik Sharif Ahmed played a role.
That sparked an Islamist insurgency which is still raging despite their withdrawal. "I'm telling the people that it's time we attacked Ethiopia, who are our Christian neighbours," Sheikh Abdiqani Mohamed Yusuf said on a radio station controlled by the Al-Shabaab rebels in the southern port of Kismayu.
"We have to invade their country, like they did to our country. This is our best chance," he said. "The people should be ready to take part in jihad."
Additional reporting by Reuters