Somalia's prime minister said Tuesday he does not expect any more major fighting against rival Islamic fighters, and his Ethiopian military backer described the operation as within weeks of being completed.
With attention shifting to suspected al Qaeda fighters believed to be sheltered by the hard-line group, a security official in neighboring Kenya said 10 foreigners who had fought with Somalia's Islamic movement had been captured. They had told interrogators the militia was doomed by internal rifts, the official added.
Government forces, backed by Ethiopian troops, were pursuing the remnants of an Islamic militia that until two weeks ago controlled most of southern Somalia.
Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said some of the militiamen offered to surrender Tuesday.
"We asked our troops to collect them and bring them back home," he said, refusing to provide any details about how many fighters were involved or where they were.
The rest of the "Islamists are scattered in the bush," he said. "Maybe small fights can take place, but we are trying to destroy them."
In the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told his parliament his troops were not peacekeepers, and it would be too costly to keep them in Somalia for much longer. He called on the international community to act quickly to send in peacekeepers to avoid a vacuum.
From CBC News: Kenya arrests as many as 2 men with Canadian passports: reports. (via Little Green Footballs)
As many as two Somali Islamic fighters who claim to be Canadian were among 10 fighters arrested by Kenyan police, according to separate reports Tuesday.
The 10 were arrested on Monday at the Liboi border crossing in Kenya as they tried to flee Somalia, the Kenya Daily Nation reported.
Two were reportedly carrying Canadian passports, while the remaining eight were said to have Eritrean passports. According to the newspaper, all 10 militants were being detained in the Kenyan town of Garissa. It is not known whether they have been charged.
Posted by Forkum at January 2, 2007 04:58 PM