Somalia: insurgency spreads, Sufis appeal for peace

Islamist al-Shabaab insurgents seized two districts in central Somalia without violence Dec. 7, including the stronghold of a Sufi group that traditionally abjures violence. Residents in Galgadud region reported that fighters aboard armed trucks peacefully entered the provincial capital Dhusamareb. “The local clan militias withdrew before they came,” one resident told the independent Radio Garowe. Shabaab fighters also took control of Mataban district to the south, with clan militias similarly offering no resistance. The Shabaab faction already controls key regions in southern Somalia, including the port towns of Kismayo and Marka.

A spokesman for the Sufi group Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee’a rejected reports their followers battled against Shabaab guerrillas in Galgadud region. Sheikh Abdulkadir Somow told reporters in Mogadishu: “The fighting in Guri El [in Galgadud] was between brothers, and Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee’a was not involved.” He called on Somalis to “stop fighting each other” and for Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Adde to “resolve differences,” while praising Djibouti for supporting the peace process. (Garowe Online, Puntland, Dec. 8)

See our last posts on Somalia and the Sufis.

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