The Council of Islamic Courts in control of south-central Somalia rebuffed allegations made at a Nairobi summit by Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf.
President Yusuf accused the Mogadishu-based Islamist militia of attempting to assassinate him on September 20 at the government base in Baidoa. At least 11 people, including President Yusuf’s younger brother, died in the car suicide bomb and subsequent gunfight.
The chairman of the Islamists’ Executive Committee, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, said the Islamic Courts have no intention to kill the president of the UN-backed interim Somali government.
Sheikh Sharif said he was “surprised” at the accusations launched by President Yusuf, adding that the comments were “irresponsible.”
President Yusuf is a “hostage of Ethiopia,” said Sheikh Sharif. Ethiopia is President Yusuf’s main ally in the region, and witnesses have reported seeing Ethiopian troops inside government-held areas.
At the meeting of the International Contact Group on Thursday, President Yusuf alleged that the Islamists trained assassins to kill him and members of his government.
Fierce fighting between Somalia’s Islamists and Barre Hirale’ militia goes on in Buale
Heavy fighting between Somalia’s Union of Islamic Courts and militias loyal to Barre Hirale, Somalia’s current defense minister is continuing in Buale, southern Somalia.
Residents in the area, who contacted Shabelle through telegram, confirmed to Shabelle about the skirmishes, adding the fighting was quite heavy and residents were fleeing from the war zone.
The fighting comes a day after some of the Courts fighters and militias loyal to them were forced out of Bur Hakaba, 60 km south of Baidoa, the federal government’s temporary base.
Bur Hakab was reported calm on Sunday after the federal government forces reportedly backed by Ethiopian forces had captured the town on Saturday.
Barre Hirale was member of Jubba Valley Alliances which broke up after Islamists took over control of the port city of Kismayu where he used administer.
The damages and the casualties of the ongoing war in Buale are still sketchy.