Tags: somalia | insurgents | islam | qaidai

Somali Islamic Insurgents Pledge Their Allegiance to Al-Qaida

Monday, 01 Feb 2010 11:04 PM

MOGADISHU – Somalia's hardline Shabab group on Monday officially declared its alignment with Al Qaeda during a large gathering of Islamist insurgent leaders, officials said.

The group also said that the smaller Islamist outfit Ras Kamboni had agreed to join the Shebab during the meeting, held in the central town of Baidoa. It said all parties agreed to work towards the creation of an Islamic state.

"The decisions included waging jihad (holy struggle) in the Eastern and Horn of Africa regions in order to liberate the Islamic communities and to link up our jihad to the global one, led by Al Qaeda and Sheikh Osama Bin Laden," said Sheikh Fuad Mohamed Shangole, a top Shabab leader.

Late last year, the Shabab's overall leader Mohamed Abdi Godane, who is also known as Abu Zubayr and was present at the Baidoa meeting, proclaimed his allegiance to Bin Laden in a video.

The Shabab had been divided of late, with one faction focused on its Somali political agenda and a more hardline wing hostile to any political compromise and bent on obtaining Al Qaeda's blessing.

Two key Shebab officials on either side of the divide, hardliner Shangole and the less radical Sheikh Muktar Robow "Abu Mansur", signed the Baidoa agreement, apparently signalling the hawks' victory.

"We also agreed to work towards establishing a broad Islamic state," Shangole said.

The Ras Kamboni group was one of four small local Islamist factions under the larger Hezb al-Islam movement, led by influential cleric Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.

"We agreed to unite as Shabab group and seek to bring other mujahedin (holy warriors) within the group," Shangole announced.

Ras Kamboni is led by Sheikh Hassan Turki, a key figure in the strategically important southern port city of Kismayo, whose allegiances have often shifted over the years.

The Shabab and Hezb al-Islam jointly launched a wide military offensive in May to topple their former comrade President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, whose transitional federal government is backed by the international community.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Monday, 01 Feb 2010 11:04 PM
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