Somalia is salivating at intel that shows key Al Shabaab leaders are wrangling among themselves, indicating disagreements as the country launches a new phase against the militant group.
According to the Somalia Ministry of Defence, a new dispute started when militants loyal to Mahad Karate, one of the top officials of the extremist group, were detained by a faction allied with the group spiritual leader Ahmed Dirie alias Abu Ubaida.
The difference generated heavy armed confrontation between Karate faction against Dirie’s in Jilib town and Hargeisa-Yarey settlement in Middle Jubba, about 400 kilometres south of Mogadishu.
The ministerial report published this week added that the disagreement is centred on the management of the Al Qaeda-linked group’s finances, assumed to be around $120 million of which about $25 million is spent on purchase of weapons.
“The imprisonment of Karate’s militants was followed by mayhem,” the ministry statement stated, adding that intra-group rivalry brings the pro-Somali government forces to defeating the terrorists.
“It can be huge boost for our military to neutralise Al Shabaab militants in the ongoing campaign,” it added.
Reports indicate that Karate and Dirie’s rivalry over the direction of the group is not new, indicating that it emerged ever since the leader’s health condition was questioned.
Ahmed Dirie assumed the leadership of Al-Shabaab after the militant group’s leader and co-founder, Ahmed Godane alias Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, was killed by US Drone attack on September 1, 2016.
Somali government forces in cooperation with local militias known as Mo’awisley and peacekeepers serving under the auspices of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis) in collaboration with other international partners have been waging military campaigns against Al Shabaab.
The first phase of the operations is focusing on Hirshabelle and Galmudug, states in Central Somalia. The next phase labelled as Phase 2 will be conducted in the southern states of Jubbaland and South West.
The US Rewards for Justice offered each up to $10 million for information on Ahmed Dirie alas Abu Ubaida and Mahad Karate also known as Abdirahman Mohamed Warsame.