Somalia’s Islamist rebels threatened on Tuesday to attack Ethiopia after repeated witness reports that Ethiopian troops were back in the chaotic Horn of Africa country they withdrew from in January. 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.

ISLAMIST ETHIOPIA“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.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said last week possible suicide attacks in Ethiopia by Somali Islamist rebels were a threat he “didn’t expect to go away any time soon”. Witnesses have said heavily armed columns of Ethiopian troops have crossed the border and are in several parts of Somalia. The Ethiopian government has repeatedly denied that.

President Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, fled into exile after the Ethiopian intervention but joined a peace process last year and was elected in January. His government is battling hardline insurgents who were once allies in the Islamist movement.



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