Islamist fighters in Somalia last night warned of deadly reprisals on Britain’s streets if the West mounted military action in the war-torn east African state.
As a conference on Somalia’s future closed in London, the country’s President appealed for bombing raids on the positions of al-Shabaab, which recently merged with al-Qa’ida. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said he would welcome air strikes against the “menace” of the insurgents, warning: “This isn’t a Somali problem, it has to be addressed globally.”
David Cameron left open the option of authorising action against al-Shabaab, which controls much of Somalia, but he made clear his preference for a lasting political settlement.
Last night the spokesman for the Islamist group, Sheikh Ali Dhere, warned it could launch terror attacks in the West if countries such as Britain and the US intervened in Somalia. “Your peace depends upon us being left alone,” he told Channel 4 News. “If you do not let us live in peace, you will not enjoy peace either.”
Al Shabaab was not invited to yesterday’s conference, but Mr Cameron insisted its fighters could be brought into the tentative political process if they laid down their weapons and genuinely renounced violence.