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In an exclusive interview with Somalia Report Sheikh Abdullahi Zubeir, al-Shabaab's deputy govenor in Somalia's Gedo region, branded the Somali government as terrorists and vowed the group will take control of the country.
Militants from the hardline Islamic group, al-Shabaab, have been battling for control of Somalia against forces from the Transitional Federal Government, Kenya, and Ethiopia as well as a number of local militias.
Thank you, Sheikh Abdullahi, for this interview. Can you please give a brief history of your operation in Somalia?
Thank you for this opportunity. Thanks to the almighty Allah who sustained the Mujahideen. In fact our operation in this country is known by everybody and the Mujahideen has made remarkable steps. We made peace flourish in regions administered by the Islamists and implemented the full application of our Islamic religion. It is our wish that we shall govern the whole country. The fact is that we have 80% of the country and plan to get the remaining 20%.
Recently Kenyan and Djiboutian forces joined the African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM) ini Somalia. How does that affects your performance in the field of the war?
Not only Kenya and Djibouti, but also Ethiopia. We are confident enough in our performance that we shall never go down. It goes without saying that our army is ready to die for our country and religion. Even if they invite Tanzania or anyone else, we will remain strong.
There have been a number of airstrikes in Gedo region including Bardhere where we are now. What impact do they have on you?
Definitely it is a problem and we are thinking of solutions. But there have only been a few causalities on our side, most of whom were targeted in empty ground. Our major concern is for the innocent citizens. Why do they beat about the bush? If they want to fight, come and fight us. We'd rather fight than have our innocent citizens killed.
There are reports your group is facing a major financial crisis and are demanding businessmen to help fund your operations. Is that true?
Yes, it is true that we experiencing an economic meltdown and we asked local businessmen to contribute. That was a general fund raising meeting held in most areas under our control. Almost all the local businessmen agreed on the matter. Insha Allah (God willing), that one will succeed.
How is your relationship with citizens and what is their attitude about your group?
In fact the citizens are satisfied with our rule. Generally it is natural that every government has some opposition, and we are no exception. We may yet may have some who are against us, but the majority rules and the majority of people have positive attitudes.
It is said that international terrorists from other parts of the world are fighting along with you. Is that true?
We have international experts, but not terrorists. Terrorists are anyone who terrorizes innocent people. The TFG should be termed as terrorists before we admit our terrorism. Our experts people train the army and lead the wars during the crucial fights.
These days the have been reports of conflict amongst the Islamists over the death of Bilal who is believed to have been assassinated. Can you tell us something about that?
In fact, I know very little about that, but we are investigating the matter and will soon unravel the truth.
Lastly what are your future plans towards the ongoing operation?
Our operations will be intensified as long as we obtain our objective. Our hidden agendas and future plans are our secret.
Thank you Sheikh Abdullahi.