The Hard line Islamic insurgent group
al-Shabaab is threatening to increase attacks on the new Somali government
after one of its commanders escaped an assassination attempt. The attack on the
insurgent leader's vehicle in the capital, Mogadishu left at least two people
dead and over 50 others wounded. Al-Shabaab has blamed the Islamic Court Union
allied to the new government for the assassination attempt. But the Islamic
Court Union sharply denied the accusation.
Somali political analyst Ali Abdullahi
told VOA that the new government is too weak to prevent any more attacks.
the arrival of last couple of days of Dahir Aweys into Mogadishu, it seems that
there is a lot of troop buildup by both sides on the side of the government and
also on the side of the Islamists and very soon there are going to be clashes
as you have seen what has happened today," Abdullahi said.
He said violent clashes
between the two Islamic groups would be rampant in the coming days.
seems that this (clashes) will increase as the intensity increases from the
side of al-Shabaab because al-Shabaab thinks that the current government does not
represent them. And not only al-Shabaab, but also other opposition, Dahir Aweys
is part of it and you also have other factions who are trying to resist the
government," he said.
said most of the opposition hard line Islamic groups do not want to recognize
the authority of the new Somali government.
"So, it is a revisit to what happened to
the government of Abdullahi Yusuf. And it would take time for it to settle
down, but things are on high alert in Mogadishu," Abdullahi
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was the former leader of the Islamic Court Union (ICU)
which is now allied with his government. Leaders of the ICU have previously
accused Al-Shabaab of several assassinations of its senior commanders, a charge
the hard line group denies.
Abdullahi said the new
Somali president has strong ties to the ICU.
"What you have to understand
is that there are alliances. The ICU is in the alliance with the government
because as you know Sheikh Sharif used to be the head of the ICU and these guys
are now the so-called opposition," Abdullahi said.
He said the new Somali unity
government is too weak to withstand the serious threat the hard line Islamic
insurgents have been issuing.
"It doesn't have the
military neither does it have the technical know-how to challenge al-Shabaab
because al-Shabaab are more organized. What you also have to understand is that
members of al-Shabaab used to be members of the ICU. So, it is a matter of
shifting alliances," he said.
Abdullahi said al-Shabaab
seems to have a lot more clout than the government given the size of the areas
it controls in the country.
"Al-Shabaab controls a lot
of acreage in Somalia. They control Kismayu, they control Marka and they
control most of the fertile land in Somalia and they collect taxes," Abdullahi
He described the new unity
government as weak.
"The weak government in
Mogadishu also cannot sustain even with the presence of close to 3500 AU
(African Union) troops because the numbers are not enough to challenge what is
happening," he said.
Meanwhile, the assassination attempt led to violent clashes between
al-Shabaab fighters and fighters loyal to pro-government Islamist faction, the
Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The fighting lasted for nearly two hours after the
commander popularly known as Qoslaye reportedly escaped the assassination
attempt unharmed. One of Qoslaye's body guards was reported dead while the
other guard was seriously wounded.
Heavy machine guns and
mortars were used by both sides during yesterday's violent clashes, which died
down as night fell in the city although there are fears that the fighting may
Described by Washington as a terrorist
organization with close ties to Al Qaeda, al-Shabaab has refused to recognize
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's new unity government. The insurgent
group has vowed to eventually take over the country calling the new government
a puppet of the west.