[This article was published in the 19th issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine (, July - August 1997]

Nida'ul Islam Interviews The spokesman for
the Islamic Union of the Mujahideen of Ogadin

Ogadin is located in the African Horn between the four countries, namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti. It occupies 650,000 Km2 and is inhabited by 6 to 7 million people all of whom are Muslim. There are no Christians or Pagans living in Ogadin, and the people speak Somali whilst most of them also know the Arabic language.

Islam reached Ogadin during the first migration of the companions of the Messenger (s.a.w). The trips of the Muslim merchants and the teachers of Islam into the region continued from that time, so Islam spread and people embraced it en mass. Islam gained strength in the area and Islamic provinces were established in Ogadin. Ogadin remained under Islamic rule until the end of the Islamic Caliphate this century. Muslims to this day continue to form the majority of the population of Ethiopia despite the extensive proselytizing efforts of the Christian world and despite the succeeding Christian governments of Ethiopia and their anti-Islamic efforts to close down mosques and Muslim schools.

To obtain the information from its correct source, and the desire of "Nida`ul Islam" to bring a true picture of the events in Western Somalia, we directed a number of questions to brother Abu Yaser who is the spokesman for external relations and the media in the Islamic Union of the Mujahideen of Ogadin, and one of the graduates of the Islamic university of Medina.

Would you kindly introduce to the reader the Islamic Union of the Mujahideen of Ogadin: its origin, its principles, its creed, the regions of its activities and its goals?

The Islamic Union in Ogadin springs from the Qur'an and the Sunnah according to the understanding of the righteous predecessors, may Allah be pleased with them. We adhere to them with respect to our creed, worship, dealings, and policies in all legal edicts. Our Union aims to raise the Word of Allah Most High and to apply the laws which He sent for us through His Messenger (s.a.w). We use all the Islamically permitted means which include the call to the religion approved by Allah Most High, to correct the creed of others and explain to them the excellent points of our common religion, and to remind them of all the ignominious repercussions which result from forsaking Islam. We also use the power of the sword against the enemies of Allah who have defiled the sanctities of the Muslims in Ogadin.

Members of the Islamic Union in Ogadin are spread in all areas and are present with all their different roles. Some of them are Mujahideen who are spread throughout the country and they also surround the main cities observing the movements of the enemy from one place to another, while others fulfill chores amongst people in the interest of Jihad. Some of the members of the movement also reside outside Ogadin.

Who are the authoritative sources and religious leaders of the Union, and to what extent do the people of Ogadin support them?

I would like to clarify that all the leaders of the movement are students of Islamic law and are teachers of Islam before Jihad and after it. Most of the members of the important and sensitive committees of the Mujahideen are graduates from Islamic universities, especially the Islamic University of Medina.

In any event, the most relevant point of reference falls back on these scholars who are participating in the Jihad. They are living the events and witnessing the developments, and to be able to pass judgment on something, you must be able to visualize it and comprehend it from every aspect. Once you are able to fully comprehend the reality of an issue, then your Fatwa (ruling) becomes valid. Similarly laws must be in their correct field and the evidence must point to the issue they investigate.

As for the popular support of the Mujahideen, this is a fact. The Mujahideen are aware that the population and their support are essential requirements for the Jihad and are of the most important catalysts for the success of the Jihad.

The people have given their support to the Mujahideen because the Mujahideen are moving to fulfill the needs of the people and their ambitions of independence from the enemies. They are particularly infuriated by the transgressions of the enemies against the Muslim people. They are defending their faith and their honour, and they have had enough of the enemy after receiving varied tortures and oppressions. The Mujahideen employed wisdom in convincing and revealing the conspiracies of the enemy to the people since the beginning of the Jihad. This is in addition to the large victories achieved by the Mujahideen and the infliction of heavy losses on the enemy during many battles and confrontations. All these factors helped us to revive the trust and loyalty of the people towards the Mujahideen and to bring them to our support. This support and loyalty went through many stages as a matter of course.

What is the military and organisation levels that this Union has reached?

Our level of organisation and our military capacity have reached a very good level. Most of this is witnessed through our Jihad and rise to face the enemies who have been preying on Ogadin like rabid dogs for five years. The Mujahideen continue to progress in this Jihad whilst the enemy has been unable to cut through our ranks. The Mujahideen have not been fooled by the enemies' various cunning ploys despite the tremendous aid which is being poured into their militias and even despite the alliances and subsidies received from America and Israel who have themselves participated in a number of battles. This is in addition to the Eritrean forces which are already in the region under the guise of the defense alliance between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

You can gauge the level of organisation and the military level of the Mujahideen through their great efforts which proceeded without any official help worthy of mention.

What are the stages which Jihad went through from 1990 to this day?

The stages which Jihad and the Mujahideen went through in this blessed path can be summarized as follows:

A - The first / initiating stage:

The first stage was without doubt the most difficult stage where the Ethiopian forces began through their fierce and unexpected attack against the students of Tareq Bin Ziyad camp. This attack aimed to put a stop to the successful Islamic education of the people which was highly popular as they attended lectures and talks and conferences and many Islamic schools and colleges were opened as were a number of humanitarian aid organisations in the area.

The treachery of the enemy was evident in their ambush late at night where they attacked and killed the leader of the movement, his deputy, and some of the best men, leaders, and teachers. The brothers were not forewarned of this ambush and had no weapons to defend themselves.

Immediately after this ambush, the news spread and people received information about this treacherous act. The members of the movement along with their supporters in all the neighboring cities went out in revenge of their martyred brothers. They reached the area of the ambush, called for Jihad and took oath to seek retribution for their martyred brothers. This led to the battles which took place between 1990 and 1992. The members of the movement were not perturbed with the superior numbers, training, and equipment of the enemy, they were ready for their own martyrdom and embarked on their Jihad.

B- The stage of military orientation and appropriate training:

After that motivation, strong drive and anger, the Mujahideen realized the necessity to organise Mujahideen units, to train them and prepare them for war. So they tactically withdrew to regions which were far from the areas dominated by the enemy. The Mujahideen received military training there and improved their condition with respect to their arms and willingness. This was the quiet, planning and preparation stage allowing us to catch our breaths and to go back to the streets and talk to the people and advise them of thnecessity of Jihad and its being an oblion all Muslims.

During this stage, we planned to utilize the militia war strategy and to avoid large scale confrontations with the enemy, particularly as the Ethiopian forces along with their American and Israeli allies had staged a broad attack on the Mujahideen both through land and sea during 1994. This three pronged attack by the enemy did not succeed despite their use of both light and heavy weapons including helicopter gunships and tanks.

To this day, the militia style war is the one being utilized, the Mujahideen have been divided into groups allocated throughout Ogadin.

This stage witnessed many Mujahideen victories and achievements both militarily and politically, and the Mujahideen earned a good reputation within the majority of the population.

C- The stage of negotiations and the call to peace and dialogue:

After exploring all the avenues to eliminate the Mujahideen, and the realization by the enemy of the enormity of the situation and the strength of the Mujahideen, as people began to talk about the defeats which the enemy was suffering, the Ethiopian enemy resorted to the tactic of negotiation. They called on the Mujahideen to negotiate and declared a cease fire and proclaimed their sincerity and admitted their error in attacking the Mujahideen and using arms against us.

The Mujahideen accepted this with due caution, and both sides agreed to a cease fire. The Mujahideen took advantage of this peace to teach the people matters of their religion and to improve their relations with the people. When the Mujahideen began to see evidence of impending treachery from the enemy, they began to prepare for a bitter battle. The cease fire was called off, and matters returned to what they were in 1995 after a 16 months truce.

D- The stage following the break of the cease fire.

This is the current stage, and the Mujahideen continue with their high morales to confront the enemy and to engage in battle all week round. We do not know how much news of this reaches the outside world, we ask Allah to grant us victory over this oppressive enemy.

What are the most important achievements of the Jihad on both the military and political fronts?

The most important achievements during these stages are summarized below:

1- Announcing our presence and imposing independent policies along with educating the enemy as to the will of the people.

2- Earning the support of the people and fortitude against the bullying of the enemy and their efforts to destroy the confidence of the people and turn them against the Mujahideen.

3- To regain the hope and confidence of the people with respect to the fortitude of Jihad and the imminent possibility of victory.

4- Appropriate dealing with the spies who attempted to infiltrate the Mujahideen.

5- The shattering of the arrogance of the forces of the governing regime, and the confrontation of their tyranny and oppression.

6- The gain of valuable military and fighting experience, the learning of all the tactics of the enemy, and to spoil their plans and take the initiative from them more often than not.

There are many other political achievements which we may mention on other occasions Insha' Allah.

The Mujahid Usama Bin Laden announced that the Arab Mujahideen played a big role in repelling the American invaders from Somalia. Did he, or others have a hand in establishing the Union?

Yes, the team of Shaykh Usama Bin Laden had an effective role in repelling the American invaders from Somalia, that is because they participated in that battle with some explosives and in launching attacks against the army of the alliance. However, what is more relevant is the fact that neither Usama nor others had any role in creating the Jihad Union in Somalia or West Somalia. There may be, some cooperation between him and the Mujahideen of the Islamic Union in West Somalia, however, not in establishing the Islamic Union in Somalia which is called "Jama'at-ul I'tisam Bilkitab Wassuna".

Can you explain your relationship with the various groups in Somalia? What foundations govern that relationship?

Our relationship with the various groups in Somalia is one where at the very least, we keep out of each others way, so that they do not enter into treaties with the enemy and attack us together.

These relationships are based on Islamic law, and they are founded in accordance with findings of the scholars and the Shaykhs after carefully and fully studying each situation. However, the Mujahideen have not needed to this day to establish any relationship with any of these groups.

What are the obstacles faced by the Jihad Union?

There is no doubt that there are many obstacles which attempt to stop the Mujahideen from achieving their goals. The most prominent amongst these obstacles being:

1- The economic weakness of the Mujahideen and their inability to acquire sufficient funds, despite the expanded area of their activities.

2- Insufficient arms and ammunition with the Mujahideen which they require to keep the liberated land.

3- The inability to treat the wounded or care for the widows and orphans of the Mujahideen as they are not able to find any shelter and often lose their daily bread.

4- The enemy force which is receiving funds and assistance from Christians around the world is the largest obstacle facing the Mujahideen and stopping them from reaching their goals.

What is the extent of the sympathy of the Somali people with the Islamic movement, and what are the most salient features of the adherence to Islam which can be observed in the areas dominated by the Mujahideen?

Popular sympathy with the Mujahideen is a natural occurrence with every people who are colonized by an external enemy. The people of West Somalia are Muslim and hate their enemy and strive for independence and liberation from this enemy. For this reason, you will see the people sympathizing with the work of the Mujahideen and many volunteering their services for the assistance of the Mujahideen, offering money, arms and manpower. However, there are still many stingy people with weak will who are serving the enemy in return for material favours such as money and position.

The most salient feature of adherence to Islam in the areas protected by the Mujahideen is the congregational prayer, and the adherence to Islamic rituals. This is in contrast with the areas not under Mujahideen protection which are being oppressed by the enemy, and their people are being penalized for outward expressions of adherence to Islam, such as wearing the veil and growing the beard. In fact, in many of these areas women wearing the veil are being raped, and the bearded men are being killed on sight.

America and Israel are at the forefront in their war against Islam and the Muslims the world over. How has this policy been reflected in Western Somalia, and was there direct interference from them?

There is no doubt that the policies of the New World Order led by United States and Israel have negative effects on the Mujahideen and Islamic work anywhere in the world.

What position can be expected from America and Israel with respect to an Islamic Jihad movement which is fighting a Christian Orthodox enemy which is regarded as a strategic ally to this world order? Ethiopia operated under western protection as they regard it as the first danger to confront Islam in the African Horn. For this reason, Ethiopia was not colonized, in fact they made it one of the colonizing powers, so they handed it vast Islamic lands. Christians in Ethiopia are a small minority amidst a vast majority of Muslims who are angered by their treatment. The Christian minority are governing the Muslim majority with iron and fire. For these reasons Ethiopia is getting the lion's share of international aid, sufficient proof is in the fact that Ethiopia received 84% of all the international aid to Africa in 1996. There are also hundreds of American and Israeli experts who are training the Ethiopian army in all military aspects. The Mujahideen have destroyed one such camp last month in the middle of the capital Addis Ababa.

In fact, the American and Israeli forces took part in the three prong attawhich they waged against the Mujahideen in where the American air power took the foremost role in bombarding the Mujahideen. Similarly the three pronged attack against the Mujahideen in the city of Lawy where the Ethiopian enemy used the American Cobra helicopters.

In any event, the American and Israeli expert are the ones directing the battle from behind a veil at times, and directly at times. This does not need any additional evidence bearing in mind the situation of the Mujahideen.

What is the plan of the Union for the next stage?

The plan for the next stage with the permission of Allah most high is to be prepared for a major battle at any time, and to strike the major economic targets at the heart of the enemy, and also to direct a call to our brother Muslims throughout the world to share in this Jihad with us, and to help their brothers in this mission: "And if they seek your succour in the Deen, it is your duty to give succour."

How can the Muslims support this blessed Jihad?

Any person who wishes to support the Mujahideen and donate to them can get in touch with the representative in his country. They have representatives throughout the world, all gratitude to Allah.

In any case we come forward to our brothers in Islam throughout the world with this quick call to help their brothers in the creed in Western Somalia, knowing that the enemy is receiving unlimited assistance in intelligence, planning, and media support, as they are being also supported materially in all the military and security fields, even from the Arab countries.

We also inform you that the Muslims in Ethiopia in general and West Somalia in particular are living under very hard conditions which people today would not believe or imagine. Added to this are genocides of entire villages, kidnappings, assassinations and the demolition of houses and schools.

We also make a request in the following specific areas:

1- To support the Jihad and the Mujahideen and to acquaint with them fully.

2- To make a visit to the region and personally witness the condition of the Muslims and the Mujahideen in particular.

3- Financially support and assist the Mujahideen in facilitating the means for Jihad for them.

4- To facilitate scholarships for the Somalis to be able to undertake courses in the various Islamic universities and colleges in the Muslim world.

5- The provision of medical care for the wounded and the handicapped and to assist in the building of hospitals and clinics inside Ogadin if possible.

6- The provision of urgent assistance for the mobile forces who try to keep out of the grasp of the enemy.

7- To sponsor the orphans of the Mujahideen and their widows and to offer educational scholarships to them specifically.

8- To provide modern training in the military, security, economic, and media fields.