[QODLink]
Africa
Somali fighters warn Western powers
Al-Shabab leaders tell Al Jazeera fight will spread abroad once it controls Somalia.
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2008 16:12 GMT

Abu Mansoor said al-Shabaab will fight "oppression" elsewhere once Ethiopian forces are defeated [AFP]
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.

In depth
Focus

Al-Shabab destroying shrines
Somali arms ban 'repeatedly broken'
Profile: Somalia's al-Shabab

Videos
Al-Shabab crackdown questioned
Somali rebels gaining ground

Graves and churches destroyed

"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.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list