Mogadishu (HAN) November 26, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. The head of Al-Shabaab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, Abu Abdalla, has issued a strong warning to Al-Shabaab members that those who try to leave Al-Shabaab and join ISIS “will be beheaded even if you have a big beard.”
He said Al-Shabaab had one emir and “we’ll support him in good and bad times.” He was speaking to Al-Shabaab’s media outlet on Monday (November 23) after Al-Shabaab fighters ambushed and shot dead one of their own senior officials, Sheikh Hussein Abdi Gedi after he had apparently tried to convince members to switch their allegiance from Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State.
Four others died in the attack. On November 16, another allegedly pro-IS commander, Sheikh Bashir Abu Numan, and eight others were killed in a factional clash near the town of Saakow. Al-Shabaab has deep ties to al-Qaida going back to the 1990s, when the terrorist network trained some of Shabaab’s most prominent leaders at camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The two groups formally merged in 2012.
Last month, Islamic State issued a series of videos aimed at Al-Shabaab, calling on the group to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Al-Shabaab leaders rejected the call making it clear they wanted to remain aligned to Al Qaeda.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has pointed out there is little difference between al-Qaida and the Islamic State (Daesh): “At the end, the result is the same. It is an evil force that’s there for destruction whatever the name, Al-Qaeda or Daesh.” MFA
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