News / Africa

Somali Sufi Group Backs Out of Government Power-Sharing Deal

Somalia_Curious_Map
Somalia_Curious_Map
TEXT SIZE - +

A leader of Somalia's moderate Islamist Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a group says members of al-Shabab are holding top positions in the U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government. The accusation follows the Sufi group's withdrawal from a power-sharing deal it signed with the government six months ago.

Somali Sufi Group Backs Out of Government Power-Sharing Deal
Somali Sufi Group Backs Out of Government Power-Sharing Deal

The chairman of Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a's Shura Council, Sheik Omar Sheik Abdul Karidir, says his group has documents that show some leaders of the Transitional Federal Government are also members of al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked extremist group fighting to topple the government.

The Sufi cleric did not provide any details and declined to name the government officials he says are connected to al-Shabab. But Karidir says his group will no longer - in his words - "cooperate with an insincere government."

In March, the transitional government signed a power-sharing deal with a faction of Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a in Addis Ababa. The deal called for Ahlu-Sunna to back the government in its fight against al-Shabab in exchange for several Cabinet positions. But on Saturday, the Sufi group said it was pulling out of the deal because the government had failed to live up to its promises.

Ahlu-Sunna's allegation against members of the transitional government has not been independently verified. But similar reports have been circulating since mid-2008, when an Islamist opposition faction based in Eritrea joined the secular government in a U.N.-sponsored power-sharing deal. The leader of the Islamist faction, Sharif Sheik Ahmed, subsequently became president of an expanded Transitional Federal Government, which pledged to defeat al-Shabab and curb extremism.

International Crisis Group Horn of Africa analyst E. J. Hogendoorn says despite Mr. Sharif's new role as an ally of the West, he has been dogged by rumors that he and many other former members of the Eritrean-based faction are adherents of the ultra-conservative Wahhabist strain of Islam.

"There have been lots of allegations that Sheik Sharif has been sympathetic to the goals of al-Shabab - that is the establishment of a Wahhabi state, which is obviously something that Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a would be very much opposed to," said Hogendoorn.

Many elements of Wahhabism are embraced by al-Shabab and another radical Somali insurgent group, Hizbul Islam. Hizbul Islam is led by Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, who was a close associate of President Sharif before he joined the transitional government.

Hogendoorn says although there is no evidence to suggest members of the government are working hand-in-hand with al-Shabab, there are senior officials in government, who are likely to have deeply angered the Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a faction that signed the power-sharing deal.

"What happened was the international community pressured the Transitional Federal Government and Ahlu-Sunna to form an alliance," said Hogendoorn. "There are Islamists in the Transitional Federal Government, who are opposed to Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a's vision. There are also actors, who are worried about Ahlu-Sunna becoming too powerful. So, there are a number of individuals, who would like to undermine the organization."

Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a's withdrawal from government is likely to cause further turmoil in an administration that has long suffered internal divisions. Somalia's Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke resigned last week following a bitter power struggle with President Sharif.

The United States and the United Nations, which provide the bulk of the funding for the Transitional Federal Government, have urged leaders to pull together and bring stability to the country before its mandate ends next August.

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 Replaced

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