Somalia’s al-Shabaab launch TV channel

Somalia’s al-Qaeda-inspired al-Shabaab group has launched a terrestrial news channel in its latest effort to expand its propaganda activities, the Site monitoring group said on Friday.

Al-Kataib News Channel’s pilot showed the confessions of an alleged CIA spy who was executed on Sunday, said Site Intelligence Group, which carried a translation of a al-Shabaab statement circulated on jihadi internet forums.

“This broadcast success represents an advanced media leap in the mujahedeen’s [holy warriors] media in general and in Somalia in particular,” the statement said.

al-Shabaab, who have pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and control most of southern and central Somalia, also boasted acquiring a terrestrial TV channel before Somalia’s Western-backed transitional federal government.

“The first film shown on this channel is a new release of al-Kataib Foundation, and it is a recording of confessions of one of the most dangerous spies in Somalia, who is named Ahmad Kisi,” the statement said.

The statement also included pictures of the channel’s studios.

Few Mogadishu residents have yet been able to watch the al-Shabaab’s channel due to the lack of adequate TV equipment.

The insurgent group has banned Somalis from watching football, Western films and any other programme it deems “un-Islamic”.

Al-Shabaab, which last month absorbed the rival islamist insurgent group Hezb al-Islam, has recently stepped up its media strategy, notably under the impulse of its large contingent of foreign fighters.

Al-Shabaab news channel was launched online last year and the group has released several long and well-produced propaganda features reminiscent of the material aired by al-Qaeda in recent years. – AFP

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