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Friday, October 31, 2008

Nuriye Ali Farah Assinated by al Shabaab

Islamist groups waging war in Somalia against the country's feeble, foreign-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have been riled by a new fatwa issued earlier this month by self-appointed Somali clerics.

A spokesman for the clerics, Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, told an October 27 telephone press conference that the clerics issued a six-point fatwa regarding the internal dispute among Islamic Courts Union (ICU) leaders, who are divided over the Djibouti Agreement.

The group of clerics, including well-known religious authorities of Somali and Oromo ethnicity, decided to hold the meeting and issue the fatwa due to "the colonization of Somalia, the massacre of our people and destruction of our religion and country," Sheikh Gurhan said.

The Rest @ Rantburg
  • Point one of the issued fatwa declares that "it is a duty for the jihad to continue until all enemy soldiers leave the country."
  • A key clause calls for an emergency gathering of ICU executive and legislative officials, inside and outside the country, to be held within one month.
  • "The signing of agreements must be stopped until after the dispute is resolved," said Sheikh Gurhan, while reading the document.
  • The clerics' fatwa prohibited the exchange of conflicting statements over the media that "divide up the fighters and the public," while warning fighters against acts that cause more harm than good.
  • Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the ICU's executive head, signed the peace agreement with the TFG on October 26, which calls for a ceasefire effective November 5 and the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops within 120 days.
  • But Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, chairman of the Shura (legislative) council, rejected the peace pact and urged guerrillas to continue the anti-Ethiopia insurgency.
  • The two men helped form the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) in Eritrea in 2007, which included exiled Islamist leaders, ex-lawmakers and Diaspora activists.
  • However, after the signing of the Djibouti Agreement, the ARS split into two rival wings, with a Djibouti-based faction led by Sheikh Sharif and an Eritrea-based faction led by the hardliner, Sheikh Aweys.

A spokesman for the ARS-Djibouti faction, Dahir Gelle, dismissed the clerics' fatwa in early comments to the media as "servicing the interests of Hassan Dahir [Aweys]." However, unconfirmed reports told Garowe Online that Sheikh Sharif might be reconsidering the clerics' call for an ICU general conference.

Key Islamist figures associated with the ARS-Eritrea faction have publicly denounced the clerics' fatwa. Sheikh Omar Iman, who was recently crowned ARS chairman by the Eritrea-based faction, said he welcomes the new title while condemning the Djibouti-based peace process as "being organized by Ethiopia and the U.S."

"The jihad will continue and no one can stop it as long as the enemy is in the country," Sheikh Omar said from Eritrea, where he lives in exile with Sheikh Aweys.

On the clerics' fatwa, Sheikh Omar Iman rejected calls for an ICU emergency gathering while dismissing notions that the Islamic clerics take control of the war until the dispute is resolved.

  • Another figure, ex-warlord Yusuf Indha Ade, rejected the fatwa and accused the clerics of supporting the Djibouti-based ARS faction. Indha Ade, who was a notorious warlord in the early 2000s before joining the ICU as defense chief, is closely associated with the Eritrea-based faction.

Sheikh Dahir Addow, the ICU chief in Middle Shabelle region, returned to the provincial capital Jowhar on Thursday after attending the peace talks in Djibouti.

  • Local reports said Sheikh Addow traveled by land through Hiran region, where he held meetings with ICU officials.
  • Also Thursday, the ICU administrator in Hiran region, Sheikh Abdirahman Ibrahim Ma'ow, told a press conference in the regional capital Beletwein that all groups should support the clerics' decision. He held the press conference to respond to Abukar Mohamed, a top ICU military commander based in Hiran, who rejected the Djibouti Agreement and dismissed the ceasefire. "His [Abukar Mohamed] comments do not speak for the ICU administration in Hiran region," Sheikh Ma'ow said

  • More divisions became evident when one of ex-warlord Indha Ade's top lieutenants, Nuriye Ali Farah, was assassinated in Lower Shabelle region.
  • Indha Ade's supporters immediately blamed al Shabaab, with unconfirmed reports saying three al Shabaab members were killed in retaliation.

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