Islamist militia driven out of Mogadishu, vow to keep fighting

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Friday, December 29, 2006

After being driven out of Mogadishu by Ethiopian troops, the Council of Islamic Courts continues to struggle for power over Somalia. Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the executive leader of the group, told the media that the Council of Islamic Courts has no intention of fleeing the country. "We will not run away from our enemies," he said. "We will never depart from Somalia. We will stay in our homeland."

On the same day, Ali Mohamed Gedi, Somalia's Prime Minister entered Mogadishu in an armoured 22-car convoy, for the first time in more than six months. "We were fighting for our political survival but with the will and the support of the people we are the winners," Gedi told the press. "We are here to start our work." Gedi greeted the crowds as he drove through the city, but some citizens did not have a warm welcome for him. In the north end of the city, protesters filled the streets and threw rocks at Ethiopian army vehicles.

Certain analysts fear a "Afghan scenario", with a central government encircled by a nebula of independent armed Islamic groups. This situation could also attract foreign fighters from other parts of the Muslim world to join the Council of Islamic Courts in the conflict.