News / Africa

Sufi Militia Says Al-Shabab Planning to Attack Galgadud Region

Sheik Abdulahi Sheik Abirahman Al-Qadi, the spokesman of the Pro-government Ahlu-Sunna group speaks during a press conference near a frontline in southern Mogadishu (File Photo)
Sheik Abdulahi Sheik Abirahman Al-Qadi, the spokesman of the Pro-government Ahlu-Sunna group speaks during a press conference near a frontline in southern Mogadishu (File Photo)

A Sufi militia defending parts of Somalia's central regions from al-Qaida-linked militants says it believes al-Shabab has shifted some of the group's military focus from Mogadishu to the central regions and is preparing to launch attacks in the central Galgadud region.

Fighters for the Sufi Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a militia are said to be on high alert in Ahlu-Sunna strongholds, including Dhusamareb, Guri-el, Abudwaq and Balanbal in the Galgadud region.

Earlier this week, a spokesman for the Sufi group, Abdullahi Abdirahman al-Qadi urged residents in towns under its control to remain vigilant and to report any al-Shabab presence or activity.

Stability

Horn of Africa observer Stig Jarle Hansen at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research says if al-Shabab attacks and is able to capture Dhusamareb, it could significantly affect the stability of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region as well.

The Puntland government is battling an Islamist insurgency in the remote mountains of northern Somalia, led by factional leader, Mohamed Siad Atom, who has pledged allegiance to al-Shabab and is believed to have links with al-Qaida,

Analyst Hansen says the fear is that if Ahlu-Sunna is chased out of Dhusamareb, al-Shabab may be able to advance to the Puntland-controlled area of Galkayo and link up with Atom's forces.

"The wider picture is that al-Shabab has been slowly but surely expanding north into Galgadud province," said Hansen. "In fact, the last stronghold of the Sufists before you reach Galkayo is Dhusamareb. If Dhusamareb falls to al-Shabab, that might change the whole strategic situation."

Buffer

Although Ahlu-Sunna suffers from internal divisions, it has served a vital role as a buffer force against al-Shabab ambitions to seize all regions in southern and central Somalia.

Ahlu-Sunna's heightened concern in Galgadud follows a major offensive launched by al-Shabab in the Somali capital Mogadishu during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Al-Shabab, which aims to turn Somalia and other parts of the region into an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate, carried out two separate suicide attacks in the city and, following fierce battles, took over several government bases. But it failed in its larger objective to take the presidential palace and other key sites that remain under A.U. and government control.

Unable to seize all of Mogadishu, observers say there is a possibility that al-Shabab could be shifting its strategy and looking once again to target Galgadud's largest town, Dhusamareb.

In January, al-Shabab forces briefly seized Dhusamareb from Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a in what analysts described was part of a move to encircle the government in Mogadishu by extending its authority throughout central Somalia. Ahlu-Sunna fought back several days later and regained control of Dhusamareb. It has controlled the town ever since.

Ahlu-Sunna's reputation in Somalia has been tainted by reports that it is supported by Somalia's regional rival, Ethiopia.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid