[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list