MOGADISHU, Somalia June 3 (Garowe Online) -
Somali opposition figure Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has publicly stated that there are ongoing talks to unite the political and military strength of Somali opposition groups Hizbul Islam and Al Shabaab, but his proposal has already been rejected, Radio Garowe reports.
Sheikh Aweys, who returned to the Somali capital Mogadishu in April, was crowned the new rebel leader of Hizbul Islam, a coalition of four Islamist factions that merged in January to fight against the interim government led by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, formerly a close ally of Aweys.
"Talks to unite Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam are in the finals stages," Sheikh Aweys told reporters Wednesday.
But Al Shabaab guerrilla leaders who refused to be identified rejected Sheikh Aweys' claims, saying that Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam do not share a common name but have agreed to share weapons to overthrow President Sheikh Sharif's U.N.-backed interim government and African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) protecting the government.
Sheikh Aweys has not commented on Al Shabaab's rejection of his unity proposal yet, but divisions linger within the opposition, who are only united in overthrowing the government but have different ideologies about Somalia's political future.
Source: Garowe Online