Al-Shabaab Leader Warns Somalis Not to Participate in Upcoming Vote


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – The leader of the Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Shabaab warned Somalis not to participate in the upcoming elections scheduled to be held in the Horn of Africa nation.

In an audio message, Abu Obaida Ahmed Omer said “we are warning our public against participating in the so-called elections scheduled to be held”, adding that the Islamist group will fight against any effort aimed at holding elections in the war-torn nation.

The remarks came weeks after Somali federal and regional leaders agreed to hold free and fair polls following a deal signed to end months-long stalemate.

The leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliate in the East Africa, speaking on the agreement reached at the heavily fortified Afisyoni camp, said it was a sign that “foreigners occupy the country and their dictations are being followed”.

“We are warning [the public] not to participate in colony the country is in and help or legitimize the infidels’ agenda which is based on war against the Islamic Sharia,” Al-Shabaab leader said.

Over the past weeks, there have been clashes between the militant group’s fighters and government troops in parts of central Somalia, but Abu Obaida has not discussed recent confrontations during his audio message.

In his remarks, he boasted about achievements made by governorate administrations under Al-Shabaab leadership towards stemming clan conflict and tensions between tribes cohabiting in regions across south and central Somalia.

Somali federal government has not immediately commented on the remarks, which come amid efforts aimed to beef up security ahead of the upcoming vote.

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