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Al Shabab Wing Claims Separation From ICU

Issue 317
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Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has managed to evade UN moving around countries

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys

Mugadisho, February 7, 2008 – According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) quoted by UPI, the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab al-Mujahedin in Somalia is renouncing the Islamic Courts Union. The group, dominated by non-Somalis, accused the ICU for changing its preference in favor of nationalist Somali groups instead of religious groups with “global aims of the jihadist movement.”

The ICU controlled most of southern Somalia until an allied Somali and Ethiopian forces removed the group from power late in 2006. ICU’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, is one of the persons on UN wanted list of “terrorists” linked with Al Qaeda, though he denies the accusations. Despite the Somali government achieving milestones to establish transitional institutions, isolated violence remains a major problem for Mogadishu.

The International Crisis group indicated that the Al Shabab group and its leader, who was trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, is a main concern for the United States. According to UPI, Al Shabab accused the ICU of trying to “direct the jihad from hotel rooms in Eritrea.”   But government supporters say the ICU is recently trying to gain legitimacy by presenting itself separate from Al Qaeda linked groups.  

On Wednesday, the islamists reportedly took over the Hodon police station in southern Somalia after a brief clash with the local Somali government forces. A devastating attack in northern Puntland this week also claimed the lives of dozens of Ethiopian migrants who were seeking better economic opportunities in the Gulf States by taking the dangerous path thru the port of Bossaso. Puntland region Vice president said the migrants were Ethiopians mostly from Oromo ethnic group.   

The Al Shabab took responsibility for the attack and accused Puntland for supporting Ethiopia.

Source: MEMRI


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