Militants from the groups, the Shabab and Hizbul Islam, held a joint news conference at a mosque in Mogadishu, the capital, during which they threatened attacks against the African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu as well as attacks in Uganda and Burundi.
The merger could make it easier for the militants to overcome what an official from Hizbul Islam, Sheik Abdifitah Ali, called African mercenaries, a reference to the 8,000 peacekeepers from the African Union. The force helps protect the small slice of land controlled by the United Nations and the Somali government, which is supported by the United States and other Western nations.
“We have agreed to unite together and fight the foreign troops that back the apostate government,” Mr. Abdifitah said at the news conference.
Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the Shabab, said the groups would tell other militant fighters around the world that insurgents in Somalia had united. Officials from the groups said this month that the merger would take place.
“We are telling our mujahedeen brothers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the world that we have united in one name — that is Al-Shabab,” Mr. Rage said. “From now on, we will concentrate our power on how we can redouble our attacks on foreign invaders.”
In the past, the two groups had battled each other for control of Somalia. Over the last several weeks, however, the Shabab took over areas previously held by Hizbul Islam, a development that helped bring about the merger.
Mr. Rage threatened attacks in Uganda and Burundi, the two countries that provide troops to the African Union force. The Shabab claimed responsibility for twin bombings in Uganda during the World Cup soccer final in July that killed 76 people.
The bombings were the Shabab’s first attack outside Somalia and heightened concerns about the group’s desire to expand its operations to attack other international targets.
The Shabab’s forces include several hundred foreign fighters, many of whom are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. NYT
Islamist Groups Officially Announce Unity in Mogadishu
(TF.SF) MOGADISHU :
Officials of Hizbul Islam and Al-shabab have officially announced their unity in a ceremony held at Nasrudin mosque in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Thursday.Al-shabab forces were taking over all military bases and areas under the control of Hizbul Islam in the past few days as rumors saying that they had been united for the fighting against the transitional government of Somalia and AMISOM troops in Mogadishu.
Sheik Ali Mohamud Raghe, the spokesman of Al-shabab fighters had attended the ceremony and said that the two sides agreed to unite their economics; policy and weapon to fight against AMISOM and Somali government troops.
Sheik Abdifatah Mo'allin Mohamed, head of the information of Hizbul Islam forces said that they were contented to be united to start huge clashes against the western backed government and the African Union troops AMISOM adding that they would redouble their fighting in the Somali capital.
Circumstances had caused Hizbul Islam forces to join Al-shabab fighters who fought bitterly in Bur-hakaba town of Bay region in southern Somalia in over the past days.