Somali Al-Shabaab on move to recruit young fighters ahead of military assault

ADDIS ABABA: The militant group in Somalia, Al-Shabaab, started to recruit fresh youngsters into its ranks as Somali government forces backed by the African Union Forces plan a massive military assault to liberate the country’s south and central region, Ethiopia’s Walta Info reported.

According to sources in Gedo, Hiran, Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle, Al-Shabaab officials have launched mobilization campaign to gather and recruit more young male fighters in order to defend against the upcoming military assault.

On Wednesday, anti-Ethiopian forces demonstration was held in the town of Bardhere where Al-Shabaab fighters forced the local people to close their businesses and come to an open ground for the demonstration and later senior Al-Shabaab commander Sheikh Fu’ad Mohamed Khalaf [Shongole] asked the people to register for holy war against the Ethiopians.

Shongole, a Somali-Swedish fighter who is on the list of U.S. watched terrorist list, has warned those who oppose and try to flee from the war against Ethiopian and AMISOM will be termed as “apostate” and will be killed.

Two weeks ago, Al-Shabaab’s spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage [Ali Dhere] has met elders from two clans in Lower Shabelle town of Bulomarer. According to pro-Al-Shabaab website the elders agreed to gather 300 young men from each clan to participate in the fight against “invaders.”

Similar meetings have taken place in Jilib, Bu’alo and Buloburte where the militant commanders obliged on the clan elders to bring fighters for them.

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