Following a conference attended by Al-Shabaab leaders, allied traditional leaders, and religious scholars, the group has called on its fighters and the Somali people to repel the second phase of an upcoming offensive by Somalia’s frontline states.
During the conference dubbed “Second Consultative Forum of the Jihad in East Africa,” attendees, including Al-Shabaab’s leadership, issued a communiqué stating that “it is obligatory on the Mujihadeen and the Somali people in general to cooperate together in repelling and thwarting the second phase of the crusader campaign led by the Ethiopian Christians with their lives and wealth just as they participated in thwarting the previous campaign of the apostate tribal militia.”
In a statement shared on social media, the Somali insurgent group accused Ethiopia of pursuing “historical expansionist ambitions” to capture towns including Zeila, Mogadishu, and Balad. The group also claimed that the Ethiopian military has launched an offensive to capture Lig Dheere in Lower Shabelle.
Additionally, the group expressed concern about the Emirati intervention in Somalia. They accused the UAE of having a malevolent agenda to establish mercenary militias in Somalia to destroy the country and subdue it for its enemies, as they had done in Yemen, Libya, and Syria.
This accusation followed the controversial agreements made by the Somali government with the United Arab Emirates.
The Al-Shabaab statement has raised concerns about a possible escalation of violence in Somalia, particularly in regions bordering Ethiopia. The call for repelling the offensive by Somalia’s frontline states could lead to further attacks by Al-Shabaab on government troops and civilians.
The Somali government has not yet responded to the Al-Shabaab statement. However, international partners in Somalia have urged all parties, including Al-Shabaab, to prioritize the wellbeing and safety of Somali citizens above all else.
They have also called for continued cooperation and dialogue to find solutions to Somalia’s security challenges.
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