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Somalia's militant groups join forces against government

01-04-2011 08:23 BJT

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Two of Somalia's main militant groups have announced that they are to join forces. Despite some saying the alliance will not prove to be a credible threat, alarm bells are sounding across east Africa.

The two groups, Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, made the announcement two days before Christmas. They say they will present a united front against the country's transitional Government.

The two factions control most of central and southern Somalia, and many parts of the capital. The country's government is currently hemmed into a few blocks.

Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, Al-Shabaab Spokesperson, said, "After successive meetings, and discussion between the leadership of the Mujahideen al-Shabaab and that of Hizbul Islam, came the day which we have been waiting for. The day of unity, the day of understanding and oneness"

The former leader of Hizbul Islam, Hassan Dahir Aways, echoed the words of his new partners, stressing solidarity.

Speaking at the merger announcement, the leaders made threats against the United States and its allies, including countries such as Uganda and Burundi. Both have sent peace-keeping forces to Somalia.

Followers gathered by the hundreds, in a public show of support for al-Shabaab.

But according to some analysts, the public show of support masks deep fault-lines between the two groups. And they say a large proportion of Somalis are becoming increasingly disenchanted with al-Shabaab's implementation of tough Sharia law.

Rashid Abdi, Analyst, Int's Crisis Group, said, "This is not a spontaneous public display of appreciation. This is definitely something organized by the two organizations. And I don't think the public is so enthusiastic about that alliance as people suggest. I am deeply skeptical that this alliance will work. Actually I predict that this alliance will collapse even before the end of this year."

However, experts stress that any threats of terrorism should be taken seriously. Many fear the group comprises of sleeper cells, both within and outside of the country, with militant who are willing to carry out suicide attacks against international targets.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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