Somali Islamic leader vows to fight to death

The leader of an ousted Islamic group that has launched a bloody insurgency to topple the Somali government said his fighters are ready to fight to the death. Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, whose Council of Islamic Courts ruled much of southern Somalia for six months last year, accused Ethiopian forces supporting the Somali government of indiscriminate killings. "They kill people remorselessly and the world does not speak of it. They only accuse the insurgents, whose only target is the enemy," Aweys told the Somali-language service of Voice of America radio Monday night. Aweys, who spoke by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location, said "surrender to the enemy" would be shameful and his forces are willing to fight to the death. He and other Islamic leaders were forced into hiding when they were driven from power in December by Somali and Ethiopian troops.