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Al-Shabaab seeks influence in Mogadishu

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Four suspected members of Al Shabaab are seen here, captured in Mogadishu on March 22, 2012. Al-Shabaab, a militant group tied to al-Qaida, controls parts of Somalia. (UN Photo/Stuart Price)
MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 8 (UPI) -- Al-Shabaab may be trying to gain political influence in the Somali government three months before the interim administration ends, an analyst said.

The U.N. Political Office for Somalia, the African Union mission and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development issued an "unambiguous warning to potential spoilers" that they face sanctions if they get in the way of Somalia's political development.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group tied to al-Qaida, controls parts of Somalia though it has lost ground amid an offensive supported by troops from the AU. There hasn't been a formal central government in Somalia since the 1990s, and the joint statement warned bombings and internal conflict are still a concern in the country.

More than 100 tribal elders are meeting for a political conference in Mogadishu. Abdiwahab Sheik Abdisamad, a Somalia analyst with Southlink consultants in Nairobi, told Voice of America al-Shabaab might be trying to influence Somali politics.

"They (al-Shabaab) want to make sure anyone who goes to the parliament must fulfill the policy of al-Shabaab," he said.

VOA reports some members of al-Shabaab had wanted to take part in the political process but were sidelined because of their affiliation with al-Qaida.

Source: UPI


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