Monday 6/22/2009......MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A court run by a extremist Islamic group Al-Shabaab sentenced four Somali men on Monday to each have a hand and a leg cut off for allegedly stealing mobile phones and guns. The ruling prompted an outcry from human rights activists.
We have convicted them of theft, so they deserve to have their arms and legs amputated," said Sheik Abdul Haq, the al-Shabaab judge in the capital, Mogadishu. Al-Shabab has carried out amputations and other punishments elsewhere in Somalia, but they are rare in the capital.
By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Monday, August 25, 2008;
After once denying or downplaying links to the terrorist network, a senior leader of Somalia's most notorious Islamic militia Al-Shabaab, now acknowledges that his group has long-standing ties to Al Qaeda (1993 Black Hawk down Mogadishu) and says he is seeking to forge a closer relationship."We are negotiating how we can unite into one," said Muktar Robow, a top military commander of Al-Shabaab, which the U.S. State Department designated a terrorist organization in 2008.
"We will take our orders from Sheik Osama bin Laden because we are his students." Merging with Al Qaeda operatives in the region makes sense, he said, given the recent U.S. crackdown, including a May 1, 2008 airstrike that killed Shabab's previous commander."Al Qaeda is the mother of the holy war in Somalia," he said. Most of our leaders were trained in Al Qaeda camps. We get our tactics and guidelines from them. Many have spent time with Osama bin Laden." There are indications of a fairly close Shabaab-Al Qaeda connection, though it's not clear to what extent they've been operationalized," he said.
"Is Shabaab taking orders from Al Qaeda? I would say no. They are still running their own show."Robow said Shabaab has been boosting its forces in recent months with an influx of (Al-Qaeda) fighters from around the world, including Kenya, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Indonesia, Chechnya and even the United States.Al Jazeera recently aired footage of a masked Shabaab commander who called himself Abu Mansur al-Amriki and spoke with an American accent. His identity could not be confirmed.
Robow said Shabaab's roots lay with the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre's military regime in 1991, the last time Somalia had a functioning government.
With help from a team of fighters sent by Bin Laden, he said, future
Shabaab leaders cut their teeth killing U.S. forces in 1993, including the downing of a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter, which led to the deaths of 18 U.S. soldiers.U.S. intelligence agencies took note after the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Somalia's Islamic hard-liners (Al-Shabaab) were accused of harboring the Al Qaeda operatives who executed the attacks.