The former Al Shabab commander Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has released an audio tape while under house arrest in Mogadishu. The forty minute tape which was released on May 20, 2014 is widely believed to coincide with Youth Day; a day reserved to praise the Somali Youth League (SYL). The SYL was a political party that played a vital role in drumming up support for Somali independence.
In his first address since being captured, Aweys praises the SYL and recognized their efforts in securing an independent Somalia and added that the fate of the nation is in the hands of nation’s young people.
“I want to call on the youth; it is you who have to prepare something for the people. Take your responsibility.”
In the same breath, he also criticized the SYL in its failure to implement Sharia law at independence. He goes on to add that any attempt to implement Sharia was blocked by the West.
The diatribe continues as Sheikh Aweys accuses the federal as well as various autonomous and semi-autonomous regional governments of Somalia to be complicit in an Ethiopian take over and tribal nepotism.
“There are so-called federal states in the country holding the name and identity of clans; it is Majerten’s government [Puntland], it is Isaq government [Somaliland], it is Rahanweyn government [South west], it is Ogaden government [Jubba], it is Hawiye government [FG]” Skeikh Aweys said.
He labelled the countries who are among AMISOM contributing forces as “traditional” enemies of Somalia and insists that their presence is a guide to “invade and then take over our land.”
The highlight of tape was the anticipated message about Al-Shabab. The 80 year old Sheikh was himself a former leader of the armed extremist group before being captured by government militia when he defected, and then fled from Al Shabab during political infighting nearly 11 months ago.
He hints at subtle support by referring to the militants as the “mujahedeen” and justifies their militancy against foreign occupation. However, he points out that public sentiment ultimately turned on Al Shabab for its targeting of Somali scholars, intellectuals and nationalists which “led to the negative aspect of the name of the jihad war”.
He focuses his criticism towards his old ally and current leader of the Al Shabab, Ahmed Abdi Godane. He says that Godane rarely heeds advice from his critics and which often alienates the other leaders within the movement, himself included.