Senior Somalia militant leader on the run from his comrades

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys boards a plane in Adado with Somali government soldiers, 29 June Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was seen boarding a plane in Central Somalia on Saturday with Somali government soldiers

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys boards a plane in Adado with Somali government soldiers, 29 June 2013

 

Sheikh Hassan Dahir aweys is reported by the foremost pro shabab Somali language news ite somalimemo, to have fled from the coastal town of Barawe. Although it is not known where exactly he is headed, strong indications suggest the coastal town of haradheere in central Somalia.

Hassan dahir aweys’s move comes after a fierce firefight within alShabaab few days ago in Barawe located in the lower shabelle region, that claimed the lives of at least 10 of combatants. This comes on the backdrop of intense factional disagreements along ideological lines within the militant organisation over Ahmed Godane’s (AKA sheikh abu zubayr) leadership, especially more so since suffering military setbacks against Somali forces backed by AMISOM.

Hassan dahir awey’s ‘Hizbul Islam’ has been in an uneasy alliance with alShabab since their amalgamation in 2010. Sheikh Aweys has of late publicly criticised in a fatwa along with other senior leaders such as Abu mansur Robow, the attempted assassination of American militant Omar Hammami AKA Abu mansur al amriki and his comrades.

In short order, an open letter to Alqaeda’s leader Ayman Alzawahiri from Ibrahim afghan AKA abu bakr Alzailai , another senior figure in the organisation, was posted in less known jihadi forum. The letter in arabic entitled ‘I am (indeed) the naked warner’ bemoaned a slew of ‘injustices’ such as, wasteful expenditure, secret prisons and horrid treatment of foreign fighters.

In February this year Shiekh Abdulqadir Nur Farah a senior Somali cleric of the salafi brand (which Shabab ascribe to) based in Puntland and a longtime critic of the militant organisation was shot dead by assassins. This incident proved to be highly controversial, Hassan dahir aweys furiously denied any responsibility eulogizing the slain cleric as martyr in an interview with London based Somali channel, something of an anathema to Abu Zubyer’s Ideological leanings.

Somalimemo which broke the story is also suggesting also that hassan’s ultimate destination is Qatar, where he may begin negotiation with the Somali government, echoing the gulf state’s peace efforts between Taliban and Afghan government.

Despite divisions plaguing alShabab they still seem to be able to carry out successful attacks in supposedly highly secure government controlled areas in Mogadishu and else where. On Wednesday  19th of June alShabab carried out a suicide attack on the UN compound in Mogadishu, later fighters went in and managed to kill local and foreign UN employees.

Update 26/06/2013: VOA Somali service conducted an interview with the spokesman of Himan and Heeb administration in central somalia Omar Mohammed Hagafey. The spokesman confirmed that Hassan Dahir Aweys was taken into custody by fighters loyal to the administration led by the newly appointed president Abdullaahi Ali Mohamed (Barleh)who was also present. The Spokesman also said there was a tense stand offbetween and fighting nearly broke out as both sides negotiated a surrender. Asked what the administration plans do with him, he answered that he will be dealt with according to international laws. President Abdullahi Ali Mohammed is due to give more details at a press conference later. Translation services of the audio recording available please contact info@somaliwarmonitor.com

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