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Somalia grants al-Shabaab amnesty



Sunday, December 30, 2012

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The Somali government has given the local Al-Shabaab fighter group a 100 days ultimatum to end fighting and lay down its arms.

The country’s Interior and National Security Minister issued the ultimatum and called on the people to join hands in fighting extremism and militancy in Somalia.

The group has been waging an insurgency war against the UN backed administrations in Somalia since 2007. However the group has lately been on the back foot in the past year after being forced to abandon its bases in the capital Mogadishu owing to intense pressure from AMISOM and Somali forces.

The group has now lost all the major cities in south and central regions of Somalia to allied forces. Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopian troops ate fighting the Al-Shabaab on four fronts and the capture of major towns has dealt a big blow to the radical group.

However, the Somali army hopes to lure the youth fighters into laying down their arms in return for government amnesty.

In recent months, both the Somali National Army and AMISOM forces have made substantial military gains against Al-Shabaab, liberating large swathes of the country, including several regional capitals. In one instance, more than 200 Al-Shabaab defectors publicly denounced the group in Garsale, approximately 10km from the town of Jowhar and some 80km from Mogadishu. Jowhar town was later captured in December; further weakening the Al-Shabaab might in south Somalia.

Both the Somali government and the African Union Mission in Somalia have repeatedly assured Al-Shabaab fighters of their safety if they give themselves up peacefully, with the hope of integrating them back into the society.

However, comments from Al-Shabaab officials have lately indicated that there has been increasing signs that pressure being placed on group is even being felt by the foreign fighters who are secretly fleeing to countries like Yemen.

Despite all this, the Al-Shabaab has managed to carry out a series of deadly attacks on government and military convoys further proving that the war might be far from over.



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