Bruno Schiemsky - who formerly monitored UN arms shipments into Somalia - says these links take a variety of forms: Al-Shabaab Islamists have used the pirates to bring in arms shipments and foreign fighters, providing weapons and training in their use in return. They also help with bases from which the pirates operate.
Hardliners, known as the Shabaab, now have a degree of control over several pirate groups and provide operating funds and specialist weapons in return for a share of the ransoms being paid to free the ships and crew As many as 2,500 young Somalis have been trained by the Shabaab at points all along the Somali coast.
The Islamists are using the pirates to train their own forces in naval tactics so that they can provide protection for arms being smuggled in Somalia from Eritrea. The article provides details of three arms shipments brought into the country by pirates.
It says two shipments in May were for Sheikh Hassan Abdulle Hersi, who is also known as Hassan Turki, an Islamist leader who is based in southern Somalia near Kismayo. They are reported to have been picked up from islands off the Eritrean coast.
One was landed south of the capital, Mogadishu, the other brought into Mogadishu port where businessmen are alleged to have bribed port officials to allow them to be landed.
Another shipment arrived in July and is reported to have contained large quantities of weapons including specialist sniper rifles, heavy machine guns, guided anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft guns, as well as ammunition.
This is said to have been landed in Puntland in north-eastern Somalia.
The maritime force organised by the Shabaab - along the lines of the Sea Tigers operated by the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers - is said to be located in southern Somalia. They are reported to be 480 strong, and the article says they will operate off the coast of Somalia and northern Kenya.
Al-Shabaab an Islamist group in Somalia officially said that they would track American citizens wherever they are, even if they are Aid workers or Journalists. The message was posted on their website http://kataaib.net/shuhadada%2028-01-2008.html they’ve also issued statements on the website praising Osama Bin Laden and inviting foreign fighters (Al-Qaeda) to come to Somalia. Al-Shabab is targeting all Journalists in Somalia. The Al-Shabaab website is hosted in the USA by the Dotster web company in Vancouver WA.
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Al-Shabaab in Somalia is Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab's website http://kataaib.net/shuhadada%2028-01-2008.html
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