17 May 2009

Somalia: Al Shabaab Registering 'Jihad Recruits'

Islamist hardliners waging war against Somalia's UN-backed interim government are registering young men to fight, Radio Garowe reports.

Confidential sources in the Somali capital Mogadishu and the southern port city of Kismayo have confirmed that young men are being registered to 'join the jihad' against the interim government of Somalia, led by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, former leader of the Somali Islamist movement.

"Young men are being registered as soldiers...and the person chooses [to join] and no one is forced," said a source close to Al Shabaab rulers in Kismayo.

But unconfirmed reports said some young men are being "registered by force" to join the war campaign aimed at overthrowing President Sheikh Sharif's interim government and expelling African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) from Somalia.

This report surfaces at a time Sheikh Abubakar Sayli'i, the Al Shabaab mayor in Kismayo, recently said that Al Shabaab is part of the ongoing war in Mogadishu to topple the interim government.

Last week, Sheikh Hassan Turki, a notorious Islamist commander in the Jubba regions, arrived in Mogadishu leading an armed truck convoy to reinforce anti-government Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam fighters in the Somali capital.

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