World

Islamic leader vows to keep fighting for control of Somalia

Somalia's Islamic leader vowed Friday to continue the fight, a day after the interim government retook control of the capital Mogadishu with Ethiopian help.

Somalia's Islamic leader vowed Friday to continue the fight against Ethiopia, a day after troops from that country helped Somalia's interim government retake control of the capital Mogadishu.

"We will not leave Somalia," Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the executive leader of the Council of Islamic Courts told the Associated Press.

"We will not run away from our enemies. We will never depart from Somalia. We will stay in our homeland."

Ahmedspoke from the southern coastal port of Kismayo, where his forces retreated after abandoning Mogadishu, which they had held for six months.

The Islamic movement had taken control of much of southern Somalia, often without fighting, after defeating a coalition of warlords to capture Mogadishu in June.

But its fighters collapsed when Ethiopia, which has the most powerful army in the region, sent reinforcements across the border to help Somalia's internationally recognized government.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had vowed Thursday to crush fighters he described as extremists in the Islamic movement and their foreign allies, predicting it would take a few weeks longer.

Ahmed's movement had pledged to bring law based on the Qur'an to Somalia, and some of its members espoused an extreme form of Islam.