Rumors are rife that the leader of Al Shabaab, Abu Ubaidah has passed on following a long sickness that has seen him refrain from the public for years now.
Al Shabaab however, has come out strongly to discredit this news in an unusual and uncharacteristic move. Sources in Somalia confirm that the militia group, now severely split over leadership wrangles, have been talking about a possible new leadership even as Al Qaeda piles pressure on them for losing ground in East Africa.
Leaders within the Shura Council are said to be scrambling for power as they try to win the hearts and minds of the militants in a bid to pull them to their camp. The wrangles are said to have led to assassinations further leading to infighting among foot soldiers that are forced to take sides as some prefer defection to government forces.
Abu Ubaidah has been reported to be hiding in the vast wilderness of the Gedo region and rumors of his death are feared to cause further divisions within the group. Not only is their structural integrity at risk, but the militia group also faces the threat of losing its numbers to a growing, a terrorist group that has been courting Al Shabaab for a long time now.
The factions that have sent the group into a smear campaign against each other completely shutting down multiple operations, as security forces continue to make arrests. Ali Fidow, one of the leaders in the Shura, is touted to be the most likely candidate for Emir’s position. He is now the head of finance and administration is said to be largely in control of funding.
The militia group is currently operating from different camps under their preferred leaders, a gesture that continues to make the divisions even bigger. This is even as the world struggles in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic that has shut down economies the world over. The fate of Abu Ubaidah however, will be known in the coming days.