Somali Islamists said to be regrouping

Islamists have regrouped after being driven from power last year and are poised to launch a massive attack against the Somali government, an official said Thursday.

Somali Islamists said to be regrouping
Within hours, mortars slammed into the biggest market in the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 10 people.

"I saw the dead bodies of at least 10 people, and 10 others were rushed to the hospital," said Muqtar Nor, a Mogadishu resident. It marked the latest bloodshed in a city that is enduring a seething Islamic insurgency.

The government has "no power to resist the Islamists" and is failing to control most of the country, said Sheik Qasim Ibrahim Nur, director of security at the National Security Ministry.

"About 80 percent of Somalia is not safe and is not under control of the government," Nur said in an exclusive interview. "Islamists are planning to launch a massive attack against the (government) and its allied troops."

Nur also said the Islamists "are everywhere."

The comments — a rare acknowledgment by the government that its control is tenuous at best — come amid increasing signs that the Council of Islamic Courts is again gaining power in this Horn of Africa nation.

The group, which controlled the capital and much of southern Somalia for six months, was driven from power last December when Ethiopia sent military reinforcements, including soldiers and fighter jets.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Aralık 2007, 16:05
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