Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Al-Qaeda-linked cleric to lead Somali opposition

A hard-line Somali Islamist accused of ties to al-Qaeda claimed leadership of the country’s fractured opposition on Tuesday, highlighting a bitter power struggle within the movement.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an influential cleric designated as a terrorist by Washington, was elected head of the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) in a meeting in the Eritrean capital, an ally to Aweys said.

”We have elected Aweys as the head of the alliance,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

”The appointment of the new leaders will enhance the liberation of Somalia from the occupation of Ethiopia and the puppets proclaimed by Addis Ababa,” he added, referring to the Ethiopian-backed interim government in Somalia.

But ARS leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who was chairing the group’s meeting in Djibouti, dismissed the move.

”What they have said is null and void,” said his spokesperson Suleiman Olad Roble in Djibouti.

The ARS central committee, led by Ahmed, endorsed over the weekend in Djibouti a June 9 ceasefire agreement reached with the Somali government.

But Aweys rejected the truce, insisting the ARS was committed to driving out Ethiopian forces who entered Somalia in late 2006 and ousted an Islamist movement from the country’s south and central region.

The ARS was formed in September 2007 in Asmara and delegates chose Ahmed as its new leader.

The two fell out after Ahmed decided to participate in United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Djibouti to seek an end the Somali fighting that has raged since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Numerous internationally backed peace-making initiatives have failed since the desert country plunged into lawlessness 17 years ago. — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

South Africa’s mothballed ‘supermall-ification’ sets strip malls up for success

Analysts agree that the country has enough malls and that, post-Covid, the convenience of local centres lure customers

Mabuza’s Russian jaunts and the slippery consequences of medical tourism

For more than five years the deputy president has remained steadfast in his right to travel abroad to receive medical treatment

More top stories

Deputy president Mabuza begs Tshwane voters: ‘Don’t abandon the ANC’

Angry Atteridgeville residents hurl insults at ‘dysfunctional’ ANC full of ‘corrupt individuals’ as Mabuza fails to placate them with party T-shirts and doeks

Taxi operators clash with cops over disputed Route B97 in...

Three suspects remain in custody following their arrest on charges of attempted murder and assault after eight taxis were impounded

SA teens, you’re next in the queue for a vaccine...

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 will be able to register to receive their Covid-19 jab from 20 October. This group will be given only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, for now

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell dies aged 84

The 84-year-old died as a result of complications from Covid-19
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×