Islamic State warns Al-Shabaab of impending battle in Somalia
“The most recent issue of the Islamic State’s weekly Al Naba newsletter directly threatens Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa. Al Naba’s authors warn Shabaab of an impending clash, saying the al Qaeda arm has restarted its campaign to rout Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization from Somalia. ‘As we record these crimes, we do not do so as a complaint or out of weakness, but to teach people,’ the article reads, ‘especially our people in Somalia, what the al Qaeda branch in Somalia has done, because the response from the Islamic State is coming.’ The Islamic State’s loyalists say that Shabaab is being ‘proactive,’ as it fears new defections ‘like those of three years ago, which resulted in the creation of Wilayat al Somal’ [the Somalia Province].
In 2015, Shabaab quickly moved to quash the Islamic State’s expansion, detaining and killing would-be defectors. Al Qaeda’s overall emir, Ayman al Zawahiri, claims that he discussed the so-called caliphate’s designs with Shabaab’s deceased leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane. After Godane was killed in a US drone strike in Sept. 2014, Shabaab named Shaykh Abu Ubaydah Ahmad Umar as its leader. Zawahiri endorsed Ahmad Umar’s succession. Shabaab and Ahmad Umar remain openly loyal to Zawahiri and al Qaeda to this day. Under Ahmad Umar’s leadership, Shabaab has systematically hunted down jihadists who join Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s enterprise.”