must prepare to fight Somali Islamists-PM
Thu 23 Nov 2006 7:43 AM ET
By Tsegaye Tadesse
ABABA, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s prime minister urged lawmakers on Thursday
to back plans to fight Somali Islamists who he said pose a "clear and
present danger" after declaring holy war on Ethiopia.
Minister Meles Zenawi stopped short of declaring war against the Islamists
who are Somalia’s dominant power.
said: "Their preparedness is serious and we must be in a position to
use comparative force to blunt the intended invasion."
are not saying that we will declare war against Somalia. It is the jihadists
in the UIC (Union of Islamic Courts) who have repeatedly declared war on Ethiopia,"
he told parliament.
gave no details on what the plans might be, but security experts say Ethiopia
has been massing troops and preparing for war against the Islamists and possibly
Eritrea, which it accuses of backing them.
declared war against Ethiopia last month, accusing it of sending troops into
Somalia to prop up the interim government of President Abdullahi Yusuf, marooned
in the south-central Somali trading outpost of Baidoa.
the Islamists rose to challenge the government in June, Meles has said he
will defend Ethiopia from any attack and a U.N.-commissioned report says he
has sent thousands of soldiers and weapons into Somalia to protect the government.
far we have tolerated the jihadist provocation, but they are being supported
by Eritrea and other groups who do not like us," Meles said.
if the threat of jihad continues and our sovereign territory is violated we
have the inherent right of self-defence," he said.
Islamists) have also … openly declared an intention to take by force Ethiopian
territory inhabited by the Somali ethnic group. Their action poses a clear
and present danger to Ethiopia," Meles said.
which fought a border war with Ethiopia in 1998-2000, denies backing the Islamists