News / Africa

Al-Shabab Leader 'Captured' in Somalia

Senior al-Shabab officer Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys leads faithful in prayers on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Somalia's capital Mogadishu November 6, 2011.
Senior al-Shabab officer Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys leads faithful in prayers on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Somalia's capital Mogadishu November 6, 2011.
Gabe Joselow
Somali officials say they have captured a leading al-Shabab commander designated a terrorist by the United States. The new development underscores a growing rift within the group.
 
Local officials in central Somalia say Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was captured in a coastal area around three in the morning.
 
A spokesman for the Himin and Heeb administration, which controls the region, said the militant commander was apprehended without a fight.
 
“After long negotiation with him and his fighters we were successful to convince him to hand himself to the authorities,” said spokesman Mohamed Omar Hagafey
 
The spokesman added the administration is now discussing a handover with the Somali federal government.
 
Aweys, who is in his 70s, is the former leader of the extremist group Hisbul Islam, which fought against Somali authorities and merged with al-Shabab in 2010.
 
But in the last year, Aweys has been critical of other al-Shabab leaders, evidence of growing tension in the group.
 
A United Nations monitoring group report on Somalia released last year says the Aweys faction is “considered to be more pragmatic” than the other wing of al-Shabab, headed by Ahmed Abdi Godane.
 
Independent Horn of Africa researcher Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdi Samed says Aweys only aligned himself with al-Shabab because he had no other options.
 
"He was there by default, not by design," said Abdisamed. "He was under intensive pressure from al-Shabab, in fact, he was virtually (under) house arrest so he can’t do anything.”
 
Abdisamed says it is possible that Aweys surrendered himself to the authorities, believing his life to be in danger.
 
The Aweys wing of al-Shabab has always been more interested in Somali affairs, rather than taking part in a global jihad, which is the aim of the Godane faction.
 
While Godane claims to be working with al-Qaida, Abdisamed says it is unlikely that Aweys has the same ties with the terrorist group.
 
“Because al-Qaida would never trust Hassan Dahir Aweys, because Hassan Dahir Aweys believes in establishing an Islamic state within Somali borders, so beyond the Somali borders, he doesn’t care,” he said.
 
Analysts say it is unclear what impact Aweys’ apprehension will have on al-Shabab since the aging leader’s authority has been weakened since joining the group.
 
Al-Shabab has lost territory and influence in the last two years, and has been pushed out of its major strongholds in the capital and the port city of Kismayo due to concerted military operations led by the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM.
 
But the group remains the most serious security threat to the country, and has claimed responsibility for attacks on government and foreign targets, including an assault last week on a UN compound in the capital that killed at least 21 people.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cabdullahi Xuseen from: Somalia
June 26, 2013 6:18 PM
It does no longer matter if he is pragmatic or not. There's no good terrorist in this world. Hassan Aweys is a terrorist,cruel and malicious person who is devoted the destruction of Somalia. He brought ruinous damage to Islam. He reportedly supervised the killings and rape of numerous of Somali male and female. He surrendered himself now because he lacks the courage in facing danger. He should be handed over to US and let him rotten in Guantanomo Bay Prison, that's where he belongs.
In Response

by: M .amin from: Afganistan
June 27, 2013 6:29 AM
shaykh Hassan have been a nice and a Mujahid person.this is why he is terrorist caus he is against America and their pupet rajime in Somalia or other countries.
In Response

by: abe from: canada
June 27, 2013 4:14 AM
Pragmatist?
He is dedicated killer for sure, if that 's what you mean by pragmatist. How soon did we tend to forget the mayhem created by Hizbel Islam under the leadership of non other than Hassan Awey on the Somali people and its neighbors.This guy with his brown color bear was boosting hale in Mogadishu, Addis Ababa,and Nairobi,and now u call this old terrorist pragmatist.

He should be tried in a free and open court and get what he deserves.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More