Somalia's Al-Shabaab welcomes Kampala accord, TFG soldiers defect

Somalia Report

Al-Shabaab commanders in the Gedo region have welcomed the Kampala Accord that states Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo shall resign from his position within thirty days. The militants have expressed that the accord will reduce the pressure on their forces as they strategize a new offensive to recapture the positions they recently lost to Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AMISOM) forces.

Commander Maalim Nur who leads a section of the insurgent’s forces in Bardere district told Somalia Report that their fighters would welcome the resignation of the Premier. Although Malim Nur views the political squabbles within the TFG as a conflict of interest between its leaders, he believes the time has come when God has decided to punish those who were against the implementation of the Islamic Law.

"God will not allow a system that is against his laws to operate. They are using western laws that are against the Islamic teachings. God doesn’t accept that and the time will come when the whole of this TFG will end and his Mujaheddin will fully take over," Maalim Nur said. He vowed that their soldiers will keep fighting until they overcome the TFG.

TFG Forces Defect to Al-Shabaab

A few hours after the Kampala Accord was declared, thirteen pro-TFG forces defected to al-Shabaab citing the accord as the main reason. Some of those soldiers said that they were in the pro-TFG force because of their support for PM Farmajo and would not wish to continue fighting if he quits the government. One of the soldiers from Luq and district told Somalia Report that they were heading to the outskirts of Luq district to join al-shabaab fighters in their positions.

In Mogadishu, the soldiers joined the civilians who held one of the largest recent protests in Mogadishu to support PM Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Some of the soldiers said they will either quit the force or withdraw from the frontlines. The soldiers praised PM Farmajo for introducing a new mode of paying their salaries. The troops were previously paid through their commanders and former warlords under whose command they joined the force.

The low morale among TFG soldiers was clear today as normal patrol areas in the streets of Mogadishu remained empty with no soldiers on duty. Al-shabaab took an early advantage by hitting one of the TFG’s main sources of economy, the port, with suicide bombing. Different casualties were reported by both local and international media.

Al-Shabaab Media Warns of More Fighting

The pro-al-Shabaab media, including Somalimemo and radio Al-Furqaan, could not hesitate to capitalize on the political changes coming to Mogadishu saying that al-Shabaab lost ground and had a difficult time collecting funds since PM Farmajo came to power. His removal should make things easier for the militants.

They also reported that their fighters have already seized some parts of the Mogadishu seaport when they attacked it with suicide bombers today. Somalimemo website particularly stated that the attack was to prove wrong the claims of AMISOM force spokesman Paddy Ankunda who said al-Shabaab could not carry out any more attacks on their troops and positions.

The al-Shabaab controlled media also reported that "hundreds" of their fighters have traveled towards the border town of Dhobley to recapture the strategic district from pro-government Raskamboni fighters. However, Somalia Report has confirmed from sources within al-shabaab that only 127 fighters are headed to Dobley. Raskamboni militias are also reported to be preparing to defend their positions.

Yahya Mohamed writes for Somalia Report
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