Sheik Muktar Robow Abu Mansur (2nd R), spokesman of Somalia's Islamic al-Shabab, leaves a news conference after vowing to step up attacks against government soldiers and foreign troops in Mogadishu December 14, 2008.  Somalia's President Abdullahi Yu
Sheik Muktar Robow Abu Mansur (2nd R), spokesman of Somalia's Islamic al-Shabab, leaves a news conference after vowing to step up attacks against government soldiers and foreign troops in Mogadishu December 14, 2008. Somalia's President Abdullahi Yu

A top al-Shabab official believed to be the leader of a pro-Islamic State faction has been shot dead in an ambush in southern Somalia according to local residents

Sources told VOA's Somali Service Sunday that Sheikh Hussein Abdi Gedi and four others were ambushed by rival al-Shabab fighters near Gududley village in Middle Jubba region.

Gedi was one of the top al-Shabab scholars and the group’s Deputy Governor of the Jubba region until recently, when he reportedly left the al-Qaida linked group and attempted to persuade al-Shabab fighters to support the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria instead.

It’s the third attack by al-Shabab against fighters thought to be supporters of the Islamic State. Earlier this month the al-Shabab leadership has made it clear in a speech through their spokesman that they will not accept divisions and vowed fight to stop those “dividing the Muslims."

Al-Shabab has lost most of the territory it once controlled in southern Somalia but continues to carry out deadly attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and in neighboring Kenya.