Somali militant slams civilian killings

2012-04-02 18:25

Mogadishu - One of al-Shabaab's senior leaders lashed out at the group's brutality against civilians over the weekend, exposing the deep divides inside the terror group, but a government spokesperson on Monday dismissed the outburst and called the leader a "murderer."

Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys and his Islamist group Hizbul Islam merged with al-Shabaab in 2010. But the two groups apparently do not see eye-to-eye.

"Killing civilians in the name of Islam is wrong and had nothing to do with Islam," Aweys said during a meeting late Saturday. "Jihad is obligatory but coercing people into it is inappropriate" he told a group of long-bearded fighters.

Al-Shabaab declared earlier this year that it had formally joined al-Qaeda. It is trying to apply an austere version of Islam that has caused the group's popularity to plunge. Most Somalis have long practised a more moderate Sufi Islam before the militant group tried to enforce a conservative Wahabi style.

Somali civilians have been beheaded, stoned and lashed for violating the militants' code of conduct.

Aweys, a firebrand elderly Islamist, has received a series of warnings from al-Shabaab leaders after forming plans for a new, separate jihadist group. He said that al-Shabaab members should not consider their approach the only valid approach to Islam.

"Neither al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab don't represent the whole Islamic nation. They are merely a faction within" the Islamic community, he said.

Despite Aweys' words against al-Shabaab, Somali government spokesperson Abdirahman Omar Osman did not welcome them.

Kills children

"He himself is also a murderer. He deceives children and kills them," Osman said. "We are calling for him to lay down arms and stop killing people and work on peace. If he doesn't receive that call willingly he'll end up in the same way that other terrorists ended their lives. He must take peace before it's too late."

Al-Shabaab uses ad-hoc courts and assassins to execute opponents. The group also forces young men and children into war. Farmers and other businessmen are forced to pay taxes to support the militant group.

Al-Shabab's internal divisions are increasingly getting a public airing. American-born fighter Omar Hammami said in a video last month that he fears members of al-Shabaab may kill him over differences of opinion.

Hammami, known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, or "the American," appeared in a video saying he disagreed with his comrades over Shari'ah law and strategy. Al-Shabaab denied that Hammami's life was in danger.

Al-Shabaab has been under increasing military pressure over the last year, pressure that may be ramping up internal divisions.

African Union forces in Mogadishu largely pushed al-Shabaab out of the capital. Kenyan troops in the south and Ethiopian troops in the west are also moving against al-Shabaab.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  somalia  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.