By ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu
A top Somali radicals al-Shabaab official has urged Muslims in Ethiopia and Kenya to rise up against their governments.
Sheikh Mahad Omar Abdikarim made the call on Thursday at a gathering in Baidoa town, 240km southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
Sheikh Abdikarim said Muslims in Kenya and Ethiopia were oppressed, adding that they ought to ‘liberate’ themselves from Christian domination.
“You can get all the help you need,” he said without specifying the sort of assistance and from which sources. He also urged the Muslims in the two countries to send jihadists (holy warriors) to Mogadishu.
Senior al-Shabaab officials, including Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali Abu Mansur, the deputy leader of the group and Sheikh Fu’ad Mohamed Khalaf Shongole, the movement’s chief awareness officer, were present.
Al-Shabaab militias are fighting the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces that are supported by the peacekeepers serving the AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
Last month, the movement’s fighters lost their main base in Mogadishu to pro-government forces.
Al-Shabaab has recently been issuing threats to countries neighbouring Somalia.
On February 27, the group’s spokesperson, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Raghe, said they would take stern action against Kenya for supporting pro-Somalia Government forces along its border.
They have also asked Burundi to withdraw its peacekeepers from Mogadishu.