AN audio recording attributed to al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden denounces Somalia’s new president, and urges Somalis to topple him.
The recording appeared Thursday on Web sites used by al-Qaida-linked militant groups.
The speaker says Somalis should fight and dethrone President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who the recording claims is “paid by the enemies” of al-Qaida’s cause.
The 11.5-minute message was entitled “Fight On, Champions of Somalia” and included a picture of bin Laden with the audio.
President Sheikh Sharif is a moderate Islamist elected by lawmakers in January, after a peace deal between the previous government and Islamist opposition groups.
The new government plans to make Islamic law the basis of Somalia’s legal system, in an effort to appease hardline Islamists still fighting the government.
One Somali politician, Mohamed Amin Osman, told VOA that bin Laden’s alleged call to topple the president may anger many Somalis, who are tired of war.
Militant groups like al-Shabab control most of southern and central Somalia, after more than two years of fighting in the Horn of Africa country.
Al-Shabab has also rejected the new president, and continues to fight government forces and African Union peacekeepers.
The government controls only portions of the capital, Mogadishu.
Somalia has not had a stable central government since 1991, when a coup toppled President Mohamed Siad Barre. VOA NEWS