Al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden urged Somalis in a new audio tape on Thursday to topple moderate new president Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who is already struggling to deal with insurgents in the war-ravaged African state.
The new recording follows last Saturday's audiotape in which he accused some Arab leaders of being "complicit" with Israel and the West against Muslims and urged holy war to liberate the Palestinian territories.
"The war which has been taking place on your soil these past years is a war between Islam and the international crusade," bin Laden said.
The terrorist mastermind called on radical Islamists in Somalia to rise up and oust their new President.
"This Sheikh Sharif... must be fought and toppled," bin Laden said in a message addressed to the "champions of Somalia," the third audiotape attributed to bin Laden that has been broadcast this year.
"He is like the (Arab) presidents who are in the pay of our enemies," he said in the tape, whose authenticity could not be immediately confirmed.
A country threatened by extremists
Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, was elected president of the lawless country in January following U.N.-brokered reconciliation talks but faces a tough task to bring peace to a country wracked by civil war since 1991.
Islamist fighters including the hard-line Shabab militia have waged battles against the Somali government and its allies since and before Ahmed came to power, vowing to fight until all foreign forces withdraw and sharia law is imposed.
The Shabab is a hard-line Islamist organization opposed to the national unity government led by Ahmed and which controls large swathes of the troubled Horn of Africa country.
The violence has already uprooted more than a million Somalis from their homes while a third of the population depends on food aid. Western security services fear the failed Horn of Africa country could become a base for al-Qaeda-linked militants.
Bin Laden has been targeting western friendly leaders since January when he issued a similar call in a tape just days before U.S. President Barack Obama took office -- the first voice recording of the Western world's most wanted man in eight months.
Obama said at the time that al-Qaeda and bin Laden -- who is believed to be hiding in the mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border -- remained the "number one threat" to U.S. security.
Bin Laden has a $25-million bounty on his head.