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Vol 55 No 19

Published 26th September 2014


Al Shabaab shake-up

Militia leaders make overtures to their enemies while the government is mired in financial scandal

In an attempt to terminally weaken Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen, the Somali and United States governments are both trying to exploit the killing of its leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubeir. The Pentagon described the killing on 1 September as a 'major symbolic and operational loss' to the group, which is affiliated to Al Qaida. Some foreign fighters also died in the US air strike as did senior commanders, including Godane's Chief of Staff, Mohamed Abu Sham, and his logistics officer, Ali Mohamed Guled. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's bid to turn the situation to the government's advantage was to announce that it would offer amnesty to Al Shabaab leaders, whom it hoped would surrender in droves. So far, we hear, the militia is holding together.

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