News / Africa

Sectarian Fighting Erupts in Central Somalia

Nearly a dozen people have been killed in fighting in central Somalia between a Sufi Muslim group and al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants

Multimedia

Audio

Ahlu-Sunna spokesman Sheik Abdullahi Sheik AbuYusuf says heavily-armed al-Shabab fighters attacked Dhusamareb town early Saturday with gunfire and mortars. 

The spokesman adds that many al-Shabab fighters were killed in the day-long battle and Ahlu-Sunna is still in control of the town in the Galgadud region, about 560 kilometers north of Mogadishu.  His group, he says, will re-double its efforts to win the war against al-Shabab.

But late Saturday, the Mogadishu-based spokesman for al-Shabab, Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, also claimed victory.

Rage says al-Shabab received assistance from locals to defeat Ahlu-Sunna forces in Dhusamareb.   He says al-Shabab now has control of the town.
 
Eyewitnesses say most of the residents have fled, fearing more violence between the Islamist rivals.
 
Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa took up arms against al-Shabab more than a year ago, after al-Shabab militants desecrated the graves of revered Sufi clerics.  For several years, al-Shabab, which follows the ultra-conservative branch of Islam propagated by al-Qaida and the Taliban, has been trying to eradicate Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, which has deep roots in Somalia.  

The sectarian war between Ahlu-Sunna and al-Shabab is just one of several conflicts raging between and among Islamist groups in Somalia.  In September, a power struggle erupted in violence in the lower Juba region between al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, a clan-based Islamist-nationalist group which had been al-Shabab's main ally in its year-long battle to overthrow the U.N.-backed government in Mogadishu.   

A suicide bombing on December 3 at a graduation ceremony for medical students in Mogadishu tested al-Shabab's unity as well, when several of the group's leaders reportedly balked at taking responsibility for a bombing that killed and wounded more than 60 civilians. 

Reports from Somalia at the time said that al-Shabab leader Muktar Robow Abu Mansoor and spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage were deeply concerned that the bombing, believed to have been planned and executed by al-Qaida-trained foreigners in Somalia, could turn public opinion against al-Shabab.  Some reports said the dispute had caused al-Shabab to split into two factions. 

But on Friday, Robow and Rage were again seen in the company of ultra-hardliners at an al-Shabab-run military camp in north Mogadishu.  In a fresh show of leadership, Robow presented hundreds of new fighters, declaring that al-Shabab was ready to send reinforcements to Yemen to assist al-Qaida there in its fight against the West. 

In May 2008, a U.S. missile killed the founder of al-Shabab, Aden Hashi Ayro, at his home in Dhusamareb.
 

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid