Al-Qaeda ally in Somalia announces campaign to Arabize the society
MOGADISHU, Somalia - In what it would be a show of power, the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda's ally proclaimed a new campaign to teach the Arabic language to the people in parts of the country under its control, Garowe Online reports.
The announcement was made by Al-Shabaab’s shadow governor for Lower and Middle Jubba regions in southern Somalia on Friday, saying they are offering 6-month free Arabic courses to the local community from all walks of life.
Speaking at an event to declare the campaign dubbed “Arabize the society”, Mohamed Abu Abdalla urged the residents to heed to the new directive and have their businesses and schools with names and phone keyboards in Arabic.
“The order becomes immediately effective from the date on which it is made and anyone who has actively opposed it or showed defiance will “face the full force of the law” and be punished,” said the Islamist commander.
The entire Middle Juba has been under Al-Shabaab's control since 2008 with the group holds swathes of territory in the Lower Juba region, where Kenyan Defense Forces [KDF] have been battling the militants for nearly successive 8 years.
The militants have severely restricted humanitarian access in most of southern Somalia by banning UN and international agencies working in Al-Shabaab-held areas, after accusing them of "spying" for the international intelligence agencies.
For almost a decade, the hardline Islamist insurgents are battling the Government of Somalia for control of the long-chaotic Horn of Africa country and are also fighting to eject the UN-mandated Africa Union [AU] forces [AMISOM].
Although the military operations are weakening Al-Shabaab, the group is still able to carry out suicide attacks in the capital, Mogadishu and regained control of some towns after the AU mission announced it is reducing its troop presence.