Somalia: Signs of Split Among Al-Shabaab Fighters

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MOGADISHU (HAN) November 13, 2015. Public Diplomacy & regional Security. Factions of the Somali extremist organization, Al-Shabaab, were reported to have clashed on Wednesday (November 11) near Saakow, the Middle Juba region of Somalia, over the issue of whether Al-Shabaab should continue to align with al-Qaida or switch allegiance to the Islamic State.

According to local residents, the clash occurred when a group of Al-Shabaab fighters attacked the hideout of a pro-Islamic State faction. Nine fighters from both sides were killed and eight wounded in the fighting.

Sources said one of the commanders of the pro-IS faction was among those killed. Some Al-Shabaab fighters have called for the group to end its longtime alliance with Al Qaeda and pledge loyalty to the Islamic State. This has been firmly rejected by Al-Shabaab’s top leaders.

In a speech last week, Al-Shabaab spokesman, Ali Dhere, said Al-Shabaab would not allow disunity. Those accused of “dividing the Muslims” would be stopped, he said. Ali Dhere did not mention the Islamic State by name, but he said Al-Shabaab was the only “legitimate” Islamic authority in Somalia and in East Africa. MFA


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