Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Somali sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that a new shipment of weapons and ammunitions arrived on Monday for the transitional authority led by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad to strengthen its military position against the Islamist insurgents who are seeking to overthrow him and are getting close to encircling him at his presidential palace in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
Somali Government officials disclosed that at least two military planes landed at the capital’s airport on Monday which was quickly closed to all commercial flights from abroad.
The new shipment arrived only few days after US President Barack Obama’s administration announced it had supplied the Somali Government with 40 tons of weapons and ammunitions worth $10 million.
Somali sources had recently informed Asharq Al-Awsat they were expecting the arrival of military shipments from Arab and Western countries within the framework of what they called the international community’s interest in curbing the Islamist insurgents and preventing the elements associated with Al-Qaeda organization from turning the country into an Islamic emirate similar to what the Taliban movement did in Afghanistan in the past.
Meanwhile, the hard-line “Mujahidin Youth”, which is opposed to Sheikh Sharif and foreign military presence in Somalia, announced it destroyed several tons of out-of-date foods in the Bakara market, one of the most important markets in the capital. Sheikh Ali Muhammad Hussein (one of the group’s leaders) gave the traders and food distributors five days to rearrange their situations and get rid of the spoiled foods whose dates of expiry had passed a long time ago. He warned that the Mujahidin Youth would not be lenient with those risking the Somali people’s health.
On the other hand, an authoritative source in the Somali president’s office said Sheikh Sharif might leave later today to the Libyan city of Sirte to participate in the African Union’s [AU] summit of presidents and prime ministers. The official, who asked to remain unidentified, noted that Sheikh Sharif’s participation is in response to the request of Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi and Ahmed Ould Abdullah, the UN’s special envoy to Somalia.
Meanwhile, a leading figure in the Islamic Party, which isled by Sheikh Hassan Tahir Uways, denied to Asharq Al-Awsat that any military personnel from Eritrea or any other country were participating beside the militia of the party which is allied to the “Mujahidin Youth.” Speaking by telephone from some unknown place, the leader said Sheikh Sharif is spreading these accusations against Eritrea, which earlier had hosted the Somali opposition, for the purpose of diverting attention from his attempts to expand the African forces’ mission and powers and bring more foreign troops to the country.
An official in the Eritrean Government denied to Asharq Al-Awsat his country’s involvement in the ongoing fight in Somalia and said by telephone from Asmara: “We do not have any forces in Mogadishu. We challenge the transitional president or anyone else to prove the validity of these totally false allegations.” He added: “We believe that these accusations will not deceive anyone and Sheikh Sharif should refrain from making them because, quite simply, no one believes them.”