News / Africa

Senior Islamist Leader Assassinated in Somalia

TEXT SIZE - +

A senior insurgent leader from Hizbul Islam has been shot to death in Mogadishu, deepening a leadership crisis inside the Islamist rebel group.  The official, Bare Ali Bare, was an outspoken critic of Hizbul Islam's one-time ally, al-Shabab, raising speculation that the militant group carried out the assassination.

Eyewitnesses say Bare Ali Bare was walking alone in Mogadishu's open-air Bakara market Tuesday, when he was approached by two gunmen.  The gunmen shot the Hizbul Islam military leader several times in the head and escaped on foot.

No one has yet claimed responsibility.  But Bakara market is a stronghold of al-Qaida's proxy in Somalia, al-Shabab.   

Somalis speculate that al-Shabab leaders may have targeted Bare because he had opposed the defection of veteran Islamist fighter Hassan Turki to al-Shabab.  Before his surprise defection last month, Hassan Turki was the leader of the Ras Kamboni group, the largest of the four fundamentalist/nationalist groups that make up Hizbul Islam.   

Bare was a senior military leader for the Ras Kamboni group and was also loyal to Hizbul Islam's overall leader, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys.  

Whether Hassan Turki, who is reportedly ill, joined al-Shabab voluntarily or was forced to defect is still unclear.  But tension between al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam rose sharply after Bare and Aweys criticized al-Shabab for taking Turki away from Hizbul Islam.

Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, who was one of the top leaders of the Islamic Courts Union before it was ousted by Ethiopian troops in late 2006, played a key role early last year in hammering out an alliance between Hizbul Islam and al-Shabab.  For much of 2009, the two Islamist groups fought side-by-side in efforts to topple the U.N.-backed government in Mogadishu.

But according to Somalia analyst for the International Crisis Group, Rashid Abdi, Aweys and Hizbul Islam did not always maintain a solid relationship with al-Shabab.  

"I think al-Shabab clearly sees Hizbul Islam as a threat.  They initially welcomed Aweys," he said.  "But when Aweys decided he wanted to become the unchallenged, supreme leader, the patriarch of the Islamist movement, this was a title which probably al-Shabab was unwilling to give him," said Abdi.
    
The Hizbul Islam-al-Shabab alliance unraveled further in September, when Ras Kamboni challenged al-Shabab for control of the southern port city of Kismayo.  Since then, Ras Kamboni fighters loyal to another military leader, Ahmed Madobe, have repeatedly fought al-Shabab for control of several other towns in the Lower Juba region.

Ahmed Madobe's growing political ambitions also clashed with those of Bare Ali Bare and the two men had become fierce rivals.   

Rashid Abdi says it is possible that Bare's death could have something to do with the in-fighting that had been raging within the Ras Kamboni group in recent months.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid