Somalia: Tensions grow between senior Al Shabaab officials 1 Apr 1, 2012 - 8:56:34 AM
MOGADISHU, Somalia April 1 2012 (Garowe Online) – A senior Al Shabaab official has openly disagreed with a statement made by the leader of the Al Shabaab terrorist group and spoke against civilian deaths, Radio Garowe reports.
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys a senior Al Shabaab official disagreed with a statement made by the Amir or leader of the Al Shabaab Ahmed Abdi "Godane" aka Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr in which he stated that no Islamist group other than Al Shabaab can wage jihad inside Somalia.
The response from Sheikh Aweys, a former prison colonel, was: “One cannot limit or make jihad a membership, jihad is open to everyone who is willing to fight.”
Sheikh Aweys went to on to say that the statement made by the leader of Al Shabaab Ahmed Godane is not credible adding that one should not pretend to be what he is not. The difference between the two officials has reiterated a sense tension within the terrorist faction.
During a Friday sermon at a mosque in the outskirts of Mogadishu, Sheikh Aweys also spoke about the civilian deaths saying that it Al Shabaab was not formed to spill the blood of civilians but rather to fight against crusaders. “Whoever does not agree with Al Shabaab’s ideology should be wiped out is not a method of Islam. The organization has made the killing of civilians lawful by making up their own laws.”
There have been no comments made by other senior Al Shabaab officials. Tensions in the organization have risen recently after U.S.-born foreign fighter Omar Hamami also known as Abu Mansoor al Amriki released a video where he says that he is afraid for his life because he and other officials had disagreed over ideology and strategic issues.
Some reports say Godane stepped down as Al Shabaab leader in December 2010 but remains a very influential figure in the organization. A power struggle within Al Qaeda member group Al Shabaab has raged since Hizbul Islam faction, led by Sheikh Aweys, joined Al Shabaab.
Reportedly Godane opposed Sheikh Aweys’ rise in the Al Shabaab organization and opposed him receiving a role of importance in the organization. Sheikh Aweys who is prominent figure in the group, has had in the past, the support of influential Al Shabaab members like Mukhtar Robow "Abu Mansur" and Fuad Mohamed Shongole and is known as the group’s spiritual leader.
Al Shabaab insurgents have taken heavy losses in recent days as AMISOM and TFG forces have taken over the Mogadishu district of Deynile which has been an Al Shabaab stronghold for many years. Al Shabaab have denied that AMISOM and TFG forces have took control of Deynile, locals on the ground fear the denial and the break in fighting means Al Shabaab is preparing for an onslaught.