A Somali armed group has vowed to
defeat hard-line insurgent groups, including al-Shabab, which aim to topple the
new government. The Alhu Sunna Waljamaca armed group claims it would have
destroyed al-Shabab a long time ago if President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed had
taken its advice soon after he was elected leader of the government.
On Monday, President Sheikh Sharif pleaded
with the international community to help his administration ward off Islamist
rebels who have reportedly drawn in hundreds of foreign fighters to their
Al- Shabab refuses to recognize the new Somali administration, vowing to
topple the government.
Sheik Abdulkarim Rasik is a leading
member of the al-Sunna armed group. He told VOA that the
group needs the support of the president to destroy al-Shabab.
country has been at war for almost 20 years and when the president came to
Mogadishu, we talked. And we told him that it was better for him to obey the
Alhu Sunna Waljamaca because they know the problem of these groups, especially
Shabab or Hizbul Islam," Rasik said.
He said the current
administration has so far failed to adhere to warnings of the group despite
holding negotiations with the president and his ministers.
"The president has not
accepted our suggestion. Although we were continuing our fighting in the
central regions… we succeeded, I think," he said.
Rasik said the risk of the
government being toppled by al-Shabab and other foreign fighters would be
minimal if the administration had listened to them.
"The president realizes the
problem and now he is facing a lot of challenges. So we think and know that
this is not progress, because the situation is deteriorating day after day,"
He said the new
administration is now realizing that the threat of the government being
overthrown is growing rapidly.
"The president is fed up and
they (foreign fighters) are determined to topple this government. And they
think they are succeeding in the fighting of their war," he said.
Rasik said all the
administration needs is to ask for help from the armed group to help ward off
"If the president needs help
or support from us, we will support if Allah wills. But he may change because
he and al-Shabab were in the same group when they were in the ICU (Islamic
Courts Union)," Rasik said.
Rasik said Alhu Sunna Waljamaca is capable of
defeating the Islamic insurgents and other foreign fighters, including
are now calling on the president and his allies… to follow our programs because
we know al-Shabab, and we are really successful in our challenges against
them," he said.
said the armed group has often defeated the insurgents.
"You know that we defeated
many times al-Shabab, and we killed many foreign fighters, especially those
from Afghanistan and Algeria," Rasik said.
He expressed confidence that
his group would continue to thwart the insurgent aim of removing the government
"We are calling on the
government of Sheik Sharif and to all Somalis to follow this campaign that we
are going to topple al-Shabab and its groups," he said.
Rasik said the government
would be victorious if it heeds to Alhu Sunna Waljamaca suggestions.
the president obeys us, I think he will succeed. But if he misses our advice, I
think he will lose his government," Rasik said.
Meanwhile, a sharp increase in violence this month has
reportedly killed nearly 200 people in the capital, Mogadishu, and driven some
60,000 residents from their homes. At least 53 people have died since Friday
morning when the government attacked insurgent strongholds in the capital.
Some security experts claim hard-line Islamist insurgents
have been planting more sophisticated roadside bombs in recent months and
suicide attacks have become more frequent.
Other political observers express worry that Somalia
could become a base for al-Qaeda-linked militants and terrorists to destabilize
the entire region unless President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's new government
can defeat them.
Al-Shabab, which is viewed by Washington as a terrorist
organization with strong ties to al-Qaeda, has refused to recognize the new
administration and has vowed to overthrow the government through violent means.
The hard-line insurgent group has often accused the new
administration of being a stooge of the west to control the countries
resources, a charge the government dismisses.
Somalia has lacked an effective government since 1991
when former President Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in a coup d'état.