Abdifatah Ibrahim Ali, deputy information secretary for Kismayo’s Islamist-appointed administration, told reporters Wednesday that the group is "aware" of a military buildup in neighboring Gedo region.
"We will fight them anywhere…even in Gedo," Ali said, in reference to Col. Barre Hirale, Kismayo’s former warlord-ruler who fled to Gedo and is reportedly amassing clan militia forces there in an effort to retake Kismayo.
He indicated that Islamist guerrillas had setup "defensive positions," while calling on Islamist fighters in other parts of Somalia to come help defend Kismayo.
Mr. Ali blamed the U.S. government for Hirale’s militia buildup, saying that the U.S. is "opposed to peace in Somalia" by supporting Ethiopian troops.
One of Hirale’s militia commanders has claimed plans to retake Kismayo "with Ethiopian army support."
Hirale is a member of Somalia’s interim federal parliament, but it is not clear whether or not he enjoys Ethiopian military support.
Ethiopian troops captured Kismayo in January 2007 and withdrew within three months, leaving the port town under the control of Somali government forces who soon fought each other.
The Islamists’ fist public comment about Col. Hirale’s militia buildup is an indication the guerrilla group is concerned about renewed conflict in Lower Jubba region, where Kismayo is located