Al-Shabaab Fighters Clash Over ISIS Allegiance in Puntland

Pro-ISIS militants in al-Shabaab who want the group’s leader Ahmed Diriye to pledge loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are finding it difficult to find a safe haven from rival jihadists.

On Thursday, al-Shabaab militants attacked a group of pro-ISIS militants near Timirshe village in Puntland region, and there are unknown casualties from the clashes.

In October, prominent religious leader Abdulkadir Mumin and between a couple dozen to 100 al-Shabaab fighters (and possibly more) pledged loyalty to al-Baghdadi.

The dissident faction reportedly fled the area to avoid attacks from al-Shabaab members who opposed their stance.

In another recent statement, Mumin denounced the targeted killings of pro-ISIS fighters and threatened al-Shabaab leadership, stating, “Your kingdom will disappear…caliphate will come into effect in Somalia,” according to reporting by VOA journalist Harun Maruf.

Mumin’s group appears to be on the defense, despite his aggressive comments ostensibly directed at al-Shabaab emir Ahmed Diriye.

Thursday’s fighting in Timirshe possibly shows that pro-ISIS militants ended up fleeing quite far from the Galgala mountains.

The location of the fighting was 100 miles from where it is thought Abdulkadir Mumin’s group pledged loyalty to ISIS in October.

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Equally important, it may also show how serious and adept anti-ISIS militants in al-Shabaab are about identifying and pursuing their pro-ISIS counterparts.

Al-Shabaab’s anti-ISIS wing was able to attack the location of the pro-ISIS faction even before Puntland security forces, which declared war on pro-ISIS militants in October.

On one hand, Puntland security forces could be choosing to remain on the sidelines to allow jihadist factions to fight each other, which would let militants degrade their own forces and keep them from focusing on operations against targets in Bosaso or Garowe.
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However, the unabated movement of jihadists in Puntland could allow the jihadist threat to spread from a largely contained area of the Galgala mountains to areas in southern Puntland where security forces lack as significant of a presence.

Observers including Mohamad Faroole — the son of ex-Puntland president Abdirahman Faroole — criticized the Puntland security forces’ lack of response to the clashes.



Categories: al-Shabaab, Puntland

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  1. Africa in Transition » Al-Shabab and Islamic State: A New Rivalry

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