By Abdiaziz Loyal – Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Ahlu-Sunna leaders in Dhusamareb town of Central Somalia have turned themselves into Somali military barely a day after heavy fighting that saw close to ten people killed, National Telegraph can confirm. The move has been described as a historic win for President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s administration.
Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a is a Somalia-based paramilitary group consisting of moderate Sufis as opposed to radical Islamist groups such as Al-Shabaab. They are fighting to prevent strict Sharia and Wahhabism from being imposed and protecting the local Sunni-Sufi traditions and generally moderate religious views.
Sources in the Central Somalia state have told the group’s spiritual leader Moalim Mohamud Hassan and Sheikh Mohamed Shakir the group’s political leader are currently under Somali army custody.
There were earlier reports the leaders had opted to surrender to AMISOM but following talks, they turned themselves into the national army. AMISOM is the African Union Mission in Somalia, a regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations Security Council.
Fighting broke out in Dhusamareb and Guriel towns Friday leading to deaths as both sides marshaled reinforcements. Pictures from the Dhusamareb show Alhu Sunna’s headquarters- Inji compound, damaged and the roof caved in.
There were multiple unverifiable accounts on how the fighting started but sources said Somalia army launched an attack at Inji compound Friday morning leading to the fights.
The fighting resulted in seven deaths with civilians caught in the crossfire. A similar incident happened in Guriel town after Alhu Sunna reportedly attacked a police station. Somali forces later in the day successfully repulsed the attack and took control of the police station.
It is unclear if the two leaders were transferred to Mogadishu or are still under custody in Galmudug. Shakir served as Chief Minister in the last Galmudug state administration following an IGAD brokered deal in December 2018.