- East Africa
Al Qaeda extends Somali network warns Christians Ethiopians
Al Shebab and Kamboni mujahideen extremists have joined forces with Al-Qaeda after concluding an alliance. Having already caused the deaths of several thousands of Somalis of all denominations, they have announced their intention to target the country’s Christian minority and Ethiopians.
Two bloody Islamist movements in Somalia have agreed to join forces with Al-Qaeda, an international terrorist organization. Last Friday, Al Shebab, an extremist movement that has been most active around Mogadishu, announced its alliance with the Kamboni mujahideen militia based in Kismayo, a port town south of the country. The two groups agreed to swear allegiance to Al Qaeda.
In a statement released Friday, they revealed that their objective is to combat the Christian minority in Somalia. "We have agreed to join the international jihad of al Qaeda ... We have also agreed to unite al Shabaab and Kamboni mujahideen to liberate the Eastern and Horn of Africa community who are under the feet of minority Christians," the statement read.
Christians in Somalia are very few. Most of them are attached to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, while a few hundred Catholics worship in one single diocese located in Mogadishu. The alliance could see Al Shabaab and Kamboni extending their attacks to hit Ethiopian troops, who intervened in late 2006 in Somalia.
"We have united to revive the military strength, economy and politics of our mujahideen to stop the war created by the colonisers, and to prevent the attacks of the Christians who invaded our country." Experts have said by "Christians", the extremists are referring to Ethiopia.
Also under the renewed threat are the Ugandan and Burundian soldiers of the African Union peacekeeping force (Amisom) in Mogadishu.
Al Shabaab is believed to hobour some 5,000 men. In recent weeks, the militia has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in the region of Mogadishu. The new alliance with Kamboni mujahideen is expected to increase its active members by hundreds of new fighters.
A country ruined by war
Now viewed as a bankrupt country, Somalia has had no stable government for twenty years and has become a breeding ground for deadly clashes among several war lords. Each day is marked by a trail of blood and remains of charred human flesh. Some 16 people were killed and 70 wounded in Mogadishu Sunday night. In the past three years alone, at least 21 000 people have lost their lives, while one and half million others have been displaced.
The government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, former Islamic Courts leader and elected president in December 2008, hopes for increased African Union military presence. Consisting of 5,000 Ugandan and Burundian troops, the peace keeping force of the AU in Somalia is both under-equipped and inefficient. The state of Djibouti announced last Thursday to send 450 soldiers.
But on Sunday, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, al Shabaab spokesman threatened Djibouti of "bad consequences" if they send their "troops here" despite Kenyan and Sudanese backing. Observers have reason to believe that the blood thirsty extremist group is increasing its grip in the eastern African nation. A potential risk to the whole sub-region.
In recent years, the US has expressed concerns over Somalia becoming one of the most Al Qaeda friendly territories in Africa. A concern that does not seem to unduly bother the warlords who continue to drench the country in blood and shards of flesh.