Somalia's al-Shabab Names 3 UN Agencies 'Enemies of Islam
group, al-Shabab, says three U.N. agencies working
with the country's U.N.-backed transitional government have been
declared "enemies of Islam" and their operations in Somalia have been
statement released by al-Shabab's Department of Political Affairs and
Regional Administrations identified the banned U.N. agencies as the
United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Department of
Safety and Security and the United Nations Political Office for
which controls large portions of the country, said the three agencies
are considered enemies because they are funding and supporting the
government of Somali President Sharif Sheik Ahmed and the 4,300-member
African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM.
militant group said it has also established an office to register and
monitor all other non-governmental agencies and foreign agencies
working in Somalia.
spokeswoman for the United Nations Development Program, Rozanne
Charlton, confirmed that al-Shabab has brought UNDP operations in the
town of Baidoa in southwestern Somalia to a standstill.
Baidoa, U.N. equipment and vehicles were taken. The special
problem that we have is that our emergency communications equipment has
been removed," she said. "So, this together with the lack
of security obviously, means we cannot continue to our operations for
the moment. We are extremely regretful that we have to
temporarily suspend our operations. But we hope it will be very
short term," she said.
leader of the Somali government, Sharif Sheik Ahmed, is a former Islamist
cleric, who once led the Islamic Courts Union before it was ousted by
Ethiopian troops in late 2006. Al-Shabab, which functioned as the
courts' militant wing before becoming an independent insurgent group,
declared war on President Sharif after the Somali leader and his
faction broke ranks with Islamist hard-liners and joined the government
then, al-Shabab and another allied militant group called Hisbul Islam
have been battling to topple the government in Mogadishu. But the insurgents have been unable to penetrate into key areas of the
capital defended by AMISOM troops and
head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, Ahmedou
Ould-Abdallah, has been one of the most vocal supporters of the Somali
government. In an article published in the Washington Post
newspaper Monday, the U.N. envoy said the conflict in Somalia is no
longer a civil war, but what he described as "an externally funded
attempt to overthrow a legitimate, recognized government."
said those fighting the government include individuals on the U.N.
Security Council's list of al-Qaida and Taliban members backed by
several hundred experienced fighters from other areas of Africa, the
Middle East and Asia.
2007, al-Shabab, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the
United States, has steadily gained territory in southern Somalia and
now controls key towns such as Baidoa and Kismayo in the Lower Juba
militant group, which adheres to the ultra-conservative
Salafist tenet of Islam practiced by Osama bin Laden and the
Taliban, has imposed strict Islamic laws in areas under their control
and has carried out amputations and beheadings as punishment for
is currently holding two French government agents, who were kidnapped
last Tuesday from their hotel rooms in Mogadishu while on a mission to
train Somali troops. The militants said the two agents will be
tried according to Islamic law on charges of spying and aiding an
French government has declined to comment on al-Shabab's threat against its
employees. But Somalia's prime minister said on Sunday that all options,
including a military option, are being considered to rescue the hostages.