Split in Somali resistance?

Abu Mansur Robow, ex-deputy defense secretary with Somalia’s ousted Islamic Courts movement, told Mogadishu radio Oct. 3 that his Shabaab resistance group has “nothing to do” with the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), recently founded by Somali opposition leaders in the Eritrean capital Asmara. Robow said al-Shabaab was “not satisfied” with the Asmara conference.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the Islamists’ supreme leader, attended the Asmara conference where the ARS was launched. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who was the Islamic Courts’ executive head, was elected last month as chairman of the ARS.

Robow also pledged that attacks on Somali and Ethiopian soldiers in Mogadishu will continue. “Two of our martyrs died in last night’s battles against the Ethiopian enemy,” Robow said, adding that he saw at least five dead Ethiopian soldiers. Somali officials claimed government troops killed 13 insurgents and captured several others when a military base was attacked. (Garowe Online, Oct. 3)

On Oct. 5, soldiers from Somalia’s transitional government raided a health clinic in the outskirts of Mogadishu, where the international charity Muslim Aid was distributing food to needy families. Leader of the Hawa Abdi Clinic, Dr. Hawa Abdi, said said the troops attacked her facility without warning and killed one woman “who was waiting for food.” (Garowe Online, Oct. 5)

See our last posts on Somalia and Eritrea and the struggle for the Horn of Africa.

  1. Somali air pirates hijack khat plane
    From AP, Oct. 5:

    Gunmen released a cargo plane and its Russian crew that had been hijacked in northern Somalia, authorities said on Friday.

    Muse Gelle Yusuf, the governor of the northern Bari region where the plane was taken Thursday, said that clan elders had managed to convince the two young gunmen to release the plane and its cargo of qat, a mildly stimulating leaf chewed by many Somalis.

    Earlier in the day, Yusuf had ordered troops to surround the plane in case negotiations failed.

    Khat, also spelled qat, was of course banned by the Islamic Courts. The Islamist insurgents have been targeting vendors of the leaf.

    See our last post on the khat wars.