Garowe Online (Garowe)

8 December 2009

Somalia: Al-Shabaab Gets New Leader

An Al-Qaeda operative has been named the new leader for Somalia's powerful insurgents Al-Shabaab, says Djiboutian Foreign Affairs minister.

Speaking to London-based Arabic news network Sharqal-awsat, Mohamud

Ali Yussuf said they have received crucial intelligent reports that confirmed that Fazul Abdul Mohammed was appointed as the new leader for the militant group.

"These reports are factual; this leader was tremendously involved in suicide attacks in Mogadishu such as the recent hotel bombing and AMISOM base," he said, adding that Fazul is most dangerous Al-Qaeda man in the region.

The Djiboutian FM said Fazul is taking over from Salah Ali Nabhan, who was killed in a US aerial attack on September in the coastal Somali town of Barawe.

"The situation in Somalia is causing great concern to the region. There are efforts to prevent the militant group from talking over the country," he added.

His comments come as Al-Qaeda second in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri claims that their brothers in Somalia are behind the recent deadly suicide attack at university graduation ceremony in Mogadishu, which killed more than 24, including three Somali ministers, doctors and students.

Meanwhile, back in the war-torn Mogadishu, clashes between anti- and pro-government forces killed at least 11 people and wounded 13 others.

The clashes broke out in the capital's Hodan and Hawlwadag districts at around the evening, killing 7 civilians and four soldiers.

According to eyewitness, forces serving the embattled Somali government have been involved in heavy confrontation.

Afrah Ali Afrah, a Somali commander confirmed the casualty of the soldiers, adding that the forces engaged in gunfire with an armed group wearing soldiers uniform.

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