In a move seen by many people in Somalia to undermine the upcoming elections, Al-Shabaab has summoned elders and delegates who took part in the last election and at least 159 have apparently heed the militants call for a meeting in four remote locations controlled by the militants, as confirmed by Al-Shabaab and Southwest State officials.
The 159 elders and delegates were directed to report in Ceelbur for those from Galmudug, Jilib for those from Jubaland, Buuq-aqable for those in Hirshabeele and in Labatanjiirow for those in Southwest State. No elder or delegate attended from Puntland State.
"It is true so far 159 elders and delegates have heed the Al- Shabaab call and attended the meeting. They were told to go to a designated location near them for ease of reach," a security source who did not wish to be named told Dalsan.
Interestingly, elders and delegates from Southwest State went ahead to attend the meeting even though government officials there warned them against the move and even threatened to arrest anyone who ignores the directive saying "whoever attends the meeting will be considered to be a terrorist".
The elders and delegates who attended the meeting are said to be taken through an Al-Shabaab religious education workshop meant to ostracize them and brainwash them.
When announcing the meeting earlier this month Al-Shabaab gave a 45 day altimatum for the elders and delegates to request to be pardoned by the militants for what they described as an evil act in their taking part in the elections to choose members of parliament in both State and Federal parliaments.