In separate comments, Al Shabaab spokesman Muktar Robow “Abu Mansur” and Ras Kamboni Brigade leader Sheikh Hassan Abdullahi “Turki”have hailed ship-hijackings by Somali pirates. In Baidoa, capital of Bay region, Abu Mansur told reporters that the pirates are “protecting the Somali coast.
“Foreign powers want to divide the country [Somalia] and the pirates are protecting the coast against the enemies of Allah [God],” Abu Mansur said.
Separately, Sheikh Turki, a notorious Islamist guerrilla leader accused of terror ties by the U.S. government, told supporters in the southern port city of Kismayo that Kenya “will not be allowed one meter of Somalia.”
Sheikh Turki specifically commended Somali pirates for kidnapping Mr. Richard Phillips, the American captain of the Maersk Alabama vessel that escaped a pirate attack last week (Captain Phillips freed by US Navy Seals April12th 2009). Sheikh Turki’s Ras Kamboni Brigade merged forces with other Islamist factions in Jan. 2009, forming the new group Hizbul Islam [Party of Islam].
Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam factions have rejected Somalia’s new government and vowed to wage war until foreign troops withdraw from Somali soil.