London: The USA is contemplating arresting Somali transitional President
Abdiqasim Salad and several of his aides and bringing them
to justice on charges of cooperating with the Al-Qa'idah
organization, harbouring its members and allowing Somalia to become
a safe haven for terrorists. Meanwhile, Washington has announced
that it does not recognize the transitional government that Salad
heads, nor the two separatist entities: Somaliland in the north and
Puntland in the south.
Informed Somali sources yesterday told Al-Zaman over the phone
from Mogadishu: "Washington told President Salad that it does
not recognize his government and that it is trying to form an
alternative government in Somalia that meets with its
The sources said: "The political official in charge of
Somali affairs at the US embassy in Kenya, Glenn Warren, who left
Mogadishu yesterday after his meeting with Salad, presented a list
of people who are wanted for questioning and are accused by the USA
of taking part in terrorist operations. The list includes several of
the president's closest aides."
Asked whether the president's legitimacy may be taken away from
him, the source said: "Washington's decision can only mean that
this is indeed the case."...
Source: Al-Zaman, London, in Arabic 21 Dec 01
Somali police say they have arrested four Iraqi Kurds and a
Palestinian suspected of links to al-Qaida. The hope of the Somalis
is obviously to do something to avert widely-rumoured American
The men were reported to have been detained in the capital,
Mogadishu, by a hastily formed anti-terrorist unit - which
Washington says may itself contain terrorists. The police chief,
Colonel Abdi Hassan Awale, said yesterday that the men were arrested
three days ago, after entering Somalia without permission.
"We have arrested them because we do not know who they
are," he said.
The anti-terrorist unit was formed last week after Pentagon
officials made claims about al-Qaidas presence in Somalia. On
Thursday, its members were inspected by a Nairobi-based diplomat,
Glenn Warren, the first US official to visit Mogadishu since 1995.
President Abdiquassim Salad Hassan denied there were terrorist
organisations in Soma lia, but said the unit was a sign of his
governments commitment to fighting terrorism alongside America. "We
are very willing to show them every corner of the country," he
As Mr Hassan controls only about half of Mogadishu -
warlords run the rest of the country - analysts have questioned how
effective his unit can be.
One of the five men it has arrested approached international
journalists in Mogadishu last month appealing for help.
He said he was a refugee who had fled Iraq for political reasons,
but had been picked up by authorities in Dubai and deported to
The five had been living in Mogadishu for about a year, according
to news agency reports quoting Ali Jama, owner of a restaurant where
they often ate. Mr Jama said one of them was a dentist.
General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff,
said yesterday there were "strong indications of some ties in
Somalia to al-Qaida". He refused to confirm whether the east
African country would be a target for strikes: "Im not saying
it is and Im not saying it isn't. We are doing the kind of planning
required, but I'm not going to get into that."
Speculation about US plans has increased since the German defence
minister, Rudolf Scharping, said on Wednesday that Somalia would
definitely be a target in the war on terror.
The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, dismissed the claims
as "flat wrong". Mr Scharping, notorious for his gaffes,
was forced to backtrack in an interview with yesterday's Bild
"Together we must defend ourselves against the threat of
terror, on many levels, in many places . . . but military plans to
attack Somalia do not exist," he said.
The UN refugee agency said yesterday there were many refugees in
Mogadishu from countries including Iraq and Ethiopia. They are often
deported to Somalia from Gulf states, because Somalia has no
functioning immigration authority.