News / Africa

    New al-Shabab Call for Rebellion, Analyst Says Somalis Want Peace

    Wreckage is seen after an attack outside the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu, Jan. 2, 2014.
    Wreckage is seen after an attack outside the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu, Jan. 2, 2014.
    The al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabab carried out an average of one deadly attack every seven weeks during 2013.  At least 18,000 African Union soldiers are in Somalia attempting to crush al-Shabab and end more than two decades of conflict.  But the militant group is still pushing to overthrow the internationally-recognized government.  On Wednesday one of the top al-Shabab commanders in southern Somalia called on the locals to rebel against the government.

    More than two years ago al-Shabab withdrew from the capital Mogadishu, and for the first time in decades the city was relatively safe from street battles.  But the situation has remained fragile.

    The militant group is still capable of carrying out deadly attacks on government facilities and public places.  The government insists Mogadishu is safe and that it is doing its best to prevent terror attacks.

    Somali government spokesman Ridwan Haji Abdiwali tells VOA the government is going to put more effort into training and bolstering the national army to provide security.

    In 2014, he says, the government plans to strengthen the army, to provide sophisticated weapons and to train more soldiers and commanders.  He says the government is also working on operations to take more territory from al-Shabab.

    The group lost control of major cities in south and central Somalia in 2012 during a concerted military effort by African Union forces and Somali government troops.  But al-Shabab continues to control parts of the countryside.

    On Wednesday, the al-Shabab commander in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, Sheikh Mohamed Abu Abdalla, called on locals to rebel against the Somali government.

    He said, “Those people who live in areas where our enemy controls, this is the time to buy your weapons and fight against them, and we are ready to help you.”

    The commander, speaking to pro-al-Shabab Radio Andalus, also accused the government and AU forces of committing crimes against the population in areas under its control - something the Somali government has strongly denied.

    Analysts doubt Somalis are ready to rise up against their government.  Emmanuel Kisiangani, a senior researcher with the Nairobi-based Institute for Security Studies, says it seems Somalis are tired of war and are ready to have a peaceful country.

    “Now with people fatigued with war, I think the government has this opportunity and it does enjoy international credibility compared to some of the previous interim governments.  So I think it's important the government manages to take over some of these regions and assert its authority,” he said.

    He thinks the militant group still presents a major threat in neighboring countries.  In September, the group attacked an upscale mall in Nairobi, killing more than 60 civilians.

    Kisiangani notes al-Shabab's activities in neighboring countries are growing and that presents a problem to regional governments.

    “From last year, we had several incidences, where we had people as far as from Western part of Kenya who were behind attacks.  This is very dangerous, it’s a process of creating local fundamental individuals and that presents much bigger problems,” he said.

    Al-Shabab has other ways of creating problems besides terrorist attacks.  On Wednesday, it said it is banning the use of mobile Internet and fiber optic telephones throughout Somalia.  The Somali government says the group cannot enforce the ban.  But it could pressure or attack communications companies, further slowing the progress toward peace and normalcy in Somalia.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    January 16, 2014 6:41 PM
    The current so called federal government of Somalia wants only beneficially controlled peace that solely enable them to siphon off aid money into their secret foreign banks.
    Western donors recommended National Bank Governor, Ms. Yussur Abrar, refused corruption advances from government officials. When she was threatened, she ran for her life and resigned after only two months on the job.
    According to UN report, almost 78% of foreign cash aid vanished from local financial institution. To my surprise while there's no audible outcry from donors, the Somali officials are shamelessly behaving as if nothing serious has happened.
    One has to take full responsibility for this grand theft aid.
    The world should help rational Somalis curb the culture of corruptions.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora