Re-emergence of wrangles over Al Shabaab leadership are causing further drifts within the militia group. Trouble is brewing within the Shura council; the group governing body as pressure mounts on who will be selected as leader of the terrorist outfit.
Militants have been forced to take sides between top leaders in the council, a move that has caused infighting and several deaths. This has resulted to defections by the militants that fear for their lives and those of their families.
One Abdi Haji, an Al Shabaab defector of Kenyan citizenship surrendered to Somalia security forces to whom he claimed his life was in danger. “Militants are now turning against each other to secure a place in the group. This has been caused by Abu Ubeidah’s refusal to step down even with his illness worsening”, said Haji.
The leaders; Mahat Karate, Hussein Fiidow, Maalim Osman and Ali Dhere have sent the group into a frenzy with tension piling after the disappearance of Abu Ubeidah. Abu Ubeidah is said to have gotten into a heated argument with Hussein Fiidow early last month before disappearing to Gedo region where he continues to seek remedy for his stomach cancer. This is after Hussein Fiidow’s apparent plan to assassinate Abu Ubeidah was busted.
According to inside sources, Fiidow sees himself as a better leader than Ubeidah since he is head of Administration and Finance and therefore has a bigger following among the militants as he controls most of the operations.
Mahat Karate deputizes Abu Ubeidah, and is administratively entitled to be the next leader. However, opposition from other quarters in the Shura Council has become a hindrance. With a poor following within the group, Karate is forcefully rallying militants behind him, going to the extent of eliminating those in the opposition
Maalim Osman who is head of the military wing in the outfit enjoys substantial support from the militants. He is said to have deep connections with allied Al Qaeda and sits in the high table during negotiations. Ali Dhere is said to secretly support Osman amid all the wrangles.
The infighting has seen a weakened Al Shabaab with militants reducing by the day. Security forces have also played a big role in diminishing the outfit in recent offensives that have seen thousands dead and hundreds captured.