'Bin Laden' warning over Somalia
Osama Bin Laden, the fugitive leader of al-Qaeda Islamist militants,
has apparently issued a warning against foreign intervention in Somalia.
Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
An internet audio message warns the world community against
sending troops to the country where Islamists have been making major military gains.
Posted on a website, it is addressed to militants in Somalia and Iraq.
It would be the second message in two days attributed to
the man the US blames for the 9/11 attacks.
The 19-minute recording calls on all Somalis to back the
Council of Islamic Courts movement in its bid to build an Islamic state in Somalia.
Since Islamic Courts militias banished secular warlords
last month from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Somalia
is suddenly of much greater interest to al-Qaeda and Bin Laden, BBC Africa editor David Bamford notes.
"We will fight [US]
soldiers on the land of Somalia...
and we reserve the right to punish it on its land and anywhere possible," the speaker says.
"We warn all of the countries in the world not to respond
to America by sending international troops to Somalia."
The speaker condemns Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, president of
Somalia's secular interim government,
as a "traitor" and "renegade".
The Council of Islamic Courts is led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir
Aweys who has been on the US list of people
"linked to terrorism" since shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks.
However, he denies any links to terrorism.
Bin Laden's apparent intervention may not be welcome news
to Somalia's new lslamist leaders, our Africa
They have, he says, been at pains in recent days to convince
Washington and regional African governments that they pose no threat, despite their Islamic leanings, and want to bring stability
The speaker on the recording also tells fighters in Iraq that they are "God's trusted soldiers who will
liberate [Muslims] from the serfdom of the crusaders".
And he endorses Abu Hamza al-Muhajir as the man appointed
to replace Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq
killed three weeks ago.
"I pray to God to make him the best successor to the best
predecessor," he says.
Friday's audio recording praises Zarqawi as a "lion of holy
No new video images of the al-Qaeda leader have appeared
since October 2004.
Last week a video was broadcast purportedly showing the
deputy leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, in which he paid tribute to Zarqawi and said his death would be avenged.