MOGADISHU, Somalia Sep 7 (Garowe Online) -
A key financer of the Islamic Courts movement has refused an offer to return to the Somali capital Mogadishu in direct negotiations with interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, sources said.
Prime Minister Gedi's ongoing visit to neighboring Djibouti is intended to convince Somali businessman and Islamist financer Abukar Omar Adani to return to Mogadishu and participate at the second round of national reconciliation.
Confidential sources in Djibouti City who are familiar with the Gedi-Adani talks told Garowe Online that Adani refused Gedi's offer, saying that he has no plans to return to Somalia until the Ethiopian army withdraws.
|Abukar Adani, influential Somali businessman|
Adani went on to angrily accuse Gedi and his government of being "puppets for [Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles] Zenawi," according to the sources.
Ethiopian troops backing Gedi's interim government entered southern Somalia late last year to dislodge Islamist forces from Mogadishu.
Islamist-led insurgents have since launched daily attacks on government and Ethiopian positions, leading to hundreds of deaths and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians since the beginning of this year.
Overnight Thursday, two major intersections in Mogadishu became conflict zones when insurgents, who call themselves "muqaawama," attacked police officers.
Residents near the SOS Hospital said the two groups used heavy weapons during the battle. "I did not hear the sounds of bullets much, but more powerful explosions," said one witness, who described how he and his family members kept their chests on the ground for safety.
In Huriwaa district, muqaawama fighters launched a 30-minute attack around 11pm last night. Mohamed Deeq, who lives in Huriwaa, said he saw 2 dead police officers' bodies being pulled away from the scene.
Police spokesman Abdiwahid Hussein denied any deaths on the police side when Garowe Online contacted him Friday morning.
Source: Garowe Online