MOGADISHU, Dec. 26: Islamic fighters were in a tactical retreat today, a senior Islamic leader said, as government and Ethiopian troops advanced on three fronts in the battle for control of Somalia.
Somalia’s internationally backed government called on the Council of Islamic Courts to surrender and promised them amnesty if they lay down their weapons and stop opposing the government, spokesman Mr Abdirahman Dinari said from Baidoa, the seat of the government.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr Meles Zenawi said his forces have completed about half their mission. “As soon as we have accomplished our mission and about half of our mission is done, and the rest shouldn’t take long we’ll be out,” Mr Meles told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, a top leader of the Islamic group, said he asked his troops to withdraw from some areas. “The war is entering a new phase,” he said. “We will fight Ethiopia for a long, long time and we expect the war to go every place.”
December 26, 2006
Islamists Beat Tactical Retreat