19 September 2013

Somalia: Leadership Wrangles Emerge in Hisbul Islam Insurgent Group

Mogadishu — New tension emerged on Wednesday within defunct and former Islamist militant group officials, Hisbul Islam, paving a way looming threats of insecurity in southern Somalia as a spokesman for the group said they would abandon armed conflicts and violence, Garowe Online reports.

Speaking on VOA Somali Service, consultative (Shurra) Council secretary Sheikh Ismail Haji Adow rebuffed that Hisbul Islam is in talks with Federal Government of Somalia which he said disregarded the group's political agendas and future conflict resolutions to move forward.

"Reports of bilateral talks between the Government and Hisbul Islam are inaccurate and baseless speculations. Mohamed Moallim [Hisbul Islam spokesman] was fired by our council after releasing such reports [Federal Government and Hisbul Islam talks]," said Adow.

Speaking about his view towards Mogadishu-based federal Government, Adow accused the government of undercutting hopes of lasting peace across Somalia, "Though Hisbul Islam renounced anti-government armed offensives, the detention of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys showed us that Somalia Federal Government isn't willing to choose peace".

Mohamed Moallim Yahye, defunct Hisbul Islam Spokesman who spoke at what he described Hisbul Islam Convention declared that his insurgent group decided to accept peace and to lay down their arms on Monday.

However it was reported that Somali Federal Government Police forces detained Yahye late Wednesday at Mogadishu Intelligence base after truckloads of soldiers arrived at a hotel where he had been lodging over the past two weeks according to security officials but Adow warned in the interview that Yahye's arrest could yet derail any peace process.

Terror Chief Aweys in prison

Former Hisbul Islam leader and a wanted Al Shabaab official Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys still remains in custody after he was handed over to Federal Government of Somalia in June by some of self-proclaimed Hawiye clan elders.

Aweys's fate is yet unclear but Mohamed Moallim told the reporters in Mogadishu last Monday that Aweys will be transferred to Mogadishu Central Prison, adding that he could go to military court for trial.

Incredible sources in Mogadishu tell Garowe Online that Aweys' close ally, former warlords and several Somali Federal Government officials are speeding up their efforts of releasing Sheikh Aweys from the prison. Ahmed Dirie Ali, self-styled Hawiye clan elders' spokesman called on President Hassan to reconsider his stance on Aweys fate and also to open talks with his group, Hisbul Islam while he was speaking on Mogadishu-based radio station.

Following bitter feud and violent dispute within Al Shabaab ranks, Sheikh Aweys escaped from Barawe coastal town of Lower Shabelle region, in southern Somalia, after Al Shabaab chief Ahmed Godane dispatched Al Shabaab death squad to Aweys and other officials including his deputy Ibrahim Haji Jama Micad (Ibrahim Afghani), who refused Godane's leadership.

Sheikh Aweys was transported by plane from Adado District in Galgadud region of central Somalia, where he reportedly "surrendered" to Himan and Heeb local administration.

Hisbul Islam was founded in 2009 and following an existent duration of one month, the group announced that they would launch assaults on Somali government forces but it became "disbanded" and "trivial movement" in February 2010 after Hisbul Islam leader Hassan Dahir Aweys took a leading role in a number of terror operations and officially joined Al Shabaab.

Al Qaeda inspired extremists are still active in southern Somalia but security analysts say weak anti-terrorism policy may starkly illustrate new threats.

The mounting internal divisions within Al Shabaab and now Hisbul Islam ranks could be an opportunity for Somali federal government according to the analysts.

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