Somalia: Al Shabaab Northeast close to pledging loyalty to ISIL [Special Report]
GAROWE, Somalia, October 24, 2015 (Garowe Online Exclusive)- Al Shabaab militants in the difficult terrain of Galgala and hideouts along Golis Mountain Range have in part pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) amid merger crisis within the Somali terror group, Garowe Online has learned.
Intelligence sources indicate that top Al Shabaab ideologues including Abdulkadir Mumin, Ga’amey, Kutubo and Bashir Shire have discussed imminent loyalty to the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi.
Al though, it has yet to happen, the much-anticipated move now seems a ‘done deal’ with no strings attached.
After a week-long secret talks in Galgala, Abdulkadir Mumin phoned fugitive Al Shabaab officials in southern Somalia to inform them about the outcome of their ‘thorny discussions’, however his remarks have not cracked the whip within Al Shabaab ranks.
Pro-Al Qaeda factions voiced opposition to the decision by Al Shabaab Northeast brass.
At least 30 people, including foreign jihadists are behind bars for campaigning for merger with ISIL, Al Qaeda’s main rival in the towns of Jilib and Jamame in southern Somalia.
Abu Ubaidah has made his stance towards Ayman al-Zawihiri ‘indelible’, subduing pro-ISIL voices within the group, whose grip on large chunks of territory in central and southern Somalia is more wobbling than ever.
Jubaland Intelligence officials tell Garowe Online that Al Shabaab detained two key ISIL sympathizers -Mohamed Abdullahi Sardheye, former Al Shabaab accountant in Kismayo and Khalid Aytamow, who was in charge of Dawa affairs in Jubba regions.
Experts on the movement of Global Jihadists say, financial crisis could be pushing Al Shabaab northeast into ISIL arena.
United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea has said in confidential report, they continue to follow with concern, Al Shabaab’s destabilizing activities in relatively stable Puntland.
How Al Shabaab members obtained passports in Puntland
Puntland Security Minister, Abdi Hirsi Ali (Qarjab) for the first time acknowledged that some Al Shabaab members have managed to receive Somali passports from Immigration and Naturalization Department headquarters in the capital, Garowe.
Qarjab unveiled how Al Shabaab members obtained passports with ease, during a meeting with United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and UNDP officials.
He said, the government is holding those who facilitated the issuing of passports for members identified as ‘ticked Al Shabaab members’.
Puntland Security Minister stressed the need for tight control over issuance of key travel documents, admitting to serious lapses at Immigration office.
Though, his government is not far ahead of counter-terrorism policy failures according to UN investigators, Qarjab decried the matter as something amounting to ‘embarrassment’, and could malign Puntland dignity in the eyes of international community.
Puntland Defence Forces (PDFs) waged fierce military offensives on Al Shabaab fighters in mid-2010 after underground cells came into open.
The militants renewed terror operations in early 2014, and ever since have targeted government officials in pre-planned attacks, mainly in Bossaso port city.