By Hamsa Omar
Islamist fighters in Somalia said they killed at least 12 Ethiopian soldiers and captured some of their weapons in a combined assault on an army convoy.
The attack occurred at Jero Kulow, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, yesterday, said Farhan Abdi Eelmoge, a spokesman for Jabha al-Islamia Somalia, a faction of the Islamic Courts Union. Colonel Dahir Mohamed Hersi, a spokesman for the Somali national army, didn’t answer his mobile phone when called today for comment.
« Twelve Ethiopians were killed during the battle waged together by the Islamic Courts Union and our brothers Jabha Islamia al-Somalia, » Sheikh Abdi Rihin Isse Adow, a spokesman for the Islamic Courts, said in a mobile-phone interview today. He wouldn’t disclose his location.
The Islamic Courts Union controlled parts of southern Somalia in 2006 before being ousted by United Nations-backed Transitional Federal Government soldiers and U.S.-supported Ethiopian troops. Yesterday’s clash is the latest in a series of attacks by Islamists after last month’s cease-fire between the government and the opposition Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia.
The agreement called for Ethiopian troops to withdraw from the country within four months and be replaced by a UN peacekeeping force.
In June, Abu Yahya al-Libi, an al-Qaeda spokesman, urged militants in Somalia to fight the planned UN peacekeeping force and set up a caliphate, or Islamic government, in the Horn of Africa country, the Associated Press reported.