Al-Shabaab Rejects Plans for State in Southern Region
New Delhi: Al Shabaab, the slamist group of Horn African country Somalia's Juba region rejects plan for state in southern region, the Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government has rejected the possibility of pro-government groups forming a semi-autonomous state in Southern Somalia. Sheikh Hassan Yakoub Ali, the Information Officer of al-Shabaab Administration in Juba region, spoke on the pro-Islamist Radio, Al-Andalus, in Kismayu town, 500 kilometres south of Mogadishu, telling the listeners that no other group can form a state in Southern Somalia. Sheikh Yakoub was responding to claims by Mr Aden Mohamed Nur alias Saransour, an influential politician in southern Somalia, who announced on Saturday, that a meeting was held on the issue in Dolo town, 370 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu. Mr Saransour had stated that the objective of the conference was to plan ways of establishing a semi-autonomous state for six regions in Southern Somalia. The town of Dolo is at the strategic border junction between Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
According to Mr Saransour, 200 delegates participated in the meeting representing the inhabitants of Gedo, Bay, Bakol, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle regions, all of them lying southwest of Mogadishu, the capital. "What the 200 delegates discussed is how to liberate the south-western regions from Islamist radical groups opposing the TFG," said Mr Saransour. Mr Saransour indicated that a technical committee was formed to work on the way forward. He also stated that pro-government officials that participated in the talks included three legislators, namely Barre Aden Shire Hirale, Abdullahi Sheikh Ismael, a former Foreign Affairs Minister, and Mohamud Sayid Aden.
If realised, the proposed state will join other states like Galmudug and Puntland that were respectively formed over the years in the central and north-eastern regions of Somalia. Somaliland in north-western Somalia, however, declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in May 1991, but remains without international recognition.