19/12/08 (B478-B) AL Jazeera / Un groupe de combattants islamistes annoncent qu’il combattra toutes les forces étrangères présentes sur le territoire et il lance un avertissement aux gouvernements occidentaux. // Somali fighters warn Western powers (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

An armed group battling Ethiopian forces in Somalia has told Al Jazeera it will take its fight beyond the country once it defeats its rivals.

"We are fighting to lift the burden of oppression and colonialism from our country … We are defending ourselves against enemies who attacked us," Abu Mansoor, the leader of al-Shabab, said.

"Once we are successful with that we will fight on and finish oppression elsewhere on earth," he said.

Al-Shabab, meaning youth, split last year from the Islamic Courts Union which controlled much of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, until it was pushed out by government and Ethiopian troops in 2006.

It has since retaken large areas of central and southern Somalia and is putting increased pressure of the transitional government, which exercises little control from its base in the town of Baidoa.

‘Islamic rule’

In Marka, just 90km from the capital Mogadishu, Ibrahim Almaqdis, one of the fighters, told Al Jazeera: "We wish to tell Bush and our opponents our real intentions.

"We will establish Islamic rule from Alaska and Chile to South Africa, Japan, Russia, the Solomon Islands and all the way to Iceland, be warned, we are coming."

Abu Mansoor said that al-Shabab’s ranks had been bolstered by foreign fighters and urged others to join, saying that a core principle of the group was that all Muslims are citizens of Somalia.

"Many have already died fighting our cause and many others are here with us," he said.

"We shall welcome any Muslim from any part of the world who wants to join us. We will allow him to wed our daughters and share our farms."

The group was created in 2001 by four Somali men who had trained in Afghanistan and is listed as a "terrorist organisation" by the US.

Relative peace

The Islamic Courts Union brought relative peace to the Horn of Africa nation during its six months in control, enforcing strict laws and renewing hopes that the Somalia would become stable enough to allow aid agencies the freedom to operate.

However, their defeat by the Ethiopian and government forces has brought renewed violence as various anti-government forces have mounted near-daily attacks.

In Marka, Al Jazeera found people welcoming al-Shabab and dressing their children like the fighters who have been the only people to bring some semblance of peace to Somalia in recent years.

More than one million people have been displaced by the fighting in Somalia, one third of the population rely on emergency food aid and the chaos has helped fuel kidnappings and piracy off the coast.

01/09/08 (B463) Al Jazeera : Les francs tireurs de l’opposition somalienne font leur grand retour ! Somalia fighters ‘making comeback’ (En Anglais – Info lectrice)

Opposition fighters in Somalia appear to have made a major comeback after being ousted by Somali government troops backed up by Ethiopian forces last year.

The fighters and remnants of the Islamic Courts Union first took the key port city of Kismayo and now they say they are making headway across southern Somalia, slowly wresting back from the government control of towns such as Dhoble, near the Kenyan border.

But a Somali government adviser says the opposition is exaggerating the extent of its alleged comeback.

« I think they are less powerful than they were before. But of course they always re-group in areas that are very simple for them to take over, » Yusuf Al Azhari told Al Jazeera.

Some Kismayo residents say they are optimistic the lawlessness there will end, just a week after opposition fighters seized the area from clan militias, but others are wary.

The last time the Islamic fighters controlled the city, we saw some violations .. We urge them not to repeat that again, » one elder in Kismayo told Al Jazeera.

Other residents have warned the fighters against imposing a strict Islamic code and to focus instead on achieving peace.

But many southern citizens appear to be expecting the opposition fighters to fulfil their promises of respecting tribal divisions in order to prevent pitfalls of the past.

Although accused by the United States of harbouring al-Qaeda fighters, the Islamic Courts Union is credited by some for bringing a degree of law and order to Somalia after its central government collapsed in 1991, giving way to an all out confrontation between various clan militias.

03/05/08 (B446) Al Jazeera : Des morts dans une mosquée au Yémen / Deaths in Yemeni mosque blast (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

At least 15 people have been killed and 55 wounded in a blast outside a mosque in northern Yemen, according to officials.

A booby-trapped motorcycle exploded as crowds of worshippers left Friday prayers at the Bin Salman mosque in the Saada region, near the border with Saudi Arabia.

Earlier some witnesses said that it was a minibus parked outside the mosque that exploded.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the capital Sanaa, said that many of the dead were members of the Yemeni military.

« This is a very serious development, and the situation remains very delicate, » he said.

« Saada is a volatile region, cordoned off by the army – it is essentially off limits, even to local media. »

Another Al Jazeera correspondent said that the Imam of the mosque was the most likely target of the blast. He is also a military leader in the area.

Huthi denial

Saada province, situated in northwest Yemen, has been the site of a rebellion by members of the Zaidi community, a branch of Shia Islam, that has killed thousands of people since 2004.

The fighters are known as Huthis, named after Hussein Badr Eddin al-Huthi, their former commander, who was killed by the army in September 2004.

The government blamed the Huthis for the attack and said six people had been arrested.

« Those who carried out this ugly crime are terrorists and criminals linked to the terrorist Abdul-Malik al-Huthi, » an interior ministry statement said, referring to the brother of the late commander.

However, the group has denied any responsibility for Friday’s attack.

Abdul-Malik al-Huthi told Al Jazeera: « We condemn this regrettable incident and deny categorically any role in this incident.

« It is not part of our ethics to target mosques or worshippers at all. »

Renewed violence

The renewed violence comes despite efforts to implement a peace deal between the government and the fighters, brokered by Qatar in June 2007.

The agreement, under which the fighters would lay down their arms, was revived during a meeting between the two sides in Doha in February.

In January, clashes renewed between rebels and thousands of government troops backed by tanks, artillery and helicopters. Tribal leaders in the northern region say more than 30,000 residents have been displaced by the fighting.

The Huthis have been fighting to restore the Zaidi imamate, which was overthrown in a coup in 1962.

They reject Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president, and his government although Saleh himself is a Zaidi.