21 June, 2010
By: Wilfred Mulliro
Mogadishu (Alshahid) -The leader of Somalia’s Hizbul Islam militants Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said his group took the decision to pull out of the war-ridden central town of Beledweyne, the administrative capital of Hiiran region, to avoid fight with rival group Al-Shabaab insurgent, reports Garowe press.
“The things that forced us to peacefully vacate Hiiraan region were to avoid clash with Al-Shabaab and also avert possible shedding of innocent blood,” he said.
The insurgent leader admitting for the first time that some officials from his group had defected to the rival al-Qaeda linked rebel group Al-Shabaab.
The elderly cleric whose group is vanishing into Alshabab insurgents recommended that they could only unite with the group through talks.
“Al-Shabaab wants more than they deserve, we warned them against that because it is not good for the brothers,” he noted.
His remarks follow the announcement by Hizbul Islam officials from central Shabelle region that they had decided to join Al-Shabaab where dozens of their colleagues who have renounced their allegiance to Aweys’s group are lodged.
The two groups are involved in fight against the UN-backed Somalia transition government in Mogadishu and have managed to control large swathes of territories in central regions.
However, they are also involved in deadly power struggle over the control of southern Somali towns and in getting the attention of the well funded al Qaeda international terror group.