Sheikh Adam Mohamed Barre (Sheikh Adan Nooh)
Al-Shabaab, the militant group in Somalia aiming to topple Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and impose Islamic Law, has been waging a brutal war against Somali security forces, killing and injuring scores of civilians in the process.
In an exclusive interview, Somalia Report speaks to Sheikh Adam Mohamed Barre, an al-Shabaab representative in Gedo region, on why they have been ousted from the other regions of Somalia.
Where are the al-Shabaab leaders in Gedo Region?
The majority of us are in Wilaya Gedo, although some of us are in Bardera, and we plan to capture other districts such as Luuq, Balet-hawa and Garbaharey.
Whom are you collaborating with?
Mujahidin who are in the other parts in Somalia, and they are like our brothers because they are fighting the Ethiopian forces in some parts of Gedo region.
You control all parts of Gedo except the Dollow region, and now you have run away from the other three districts after heavy fighting. How were you ousted from these districts including Balet-hawa where al-Shabaab was present?
In fighting, we need weapons, finance and fighters. Sometimes, we are fighting TFG soldiers backed by Ethiopian troops and this is too much pressure. As al-Shabaab Mujahidin, we have no backing from other groups. This has been difficult for us in terms of getting finance and weapons. Our fighters, due to fierce exchanges, get tired and some die. Thus we have opted to withdraw our young fighters from these regions like Lower Jubba, Elwaq and Mogadishu where the fighting is heavy.
After being ousted from Garbaharey, will you be able to capture it back?
Our aim in attacking Garbaharey is to hit and destroy the town, but not to recapture it.
How many fighters do you have in Gedo as your main region and what is your plan for the region?
We cannot tell you the exact number, but we are many. We plan to attack bases belonging to Somali TFG, ASWJ and all their allies like Kenya and Ethiopia.
There was a recent airstrike in El-Ade and Bardere, were there any injuries or deaths caused?
Only three of our fighters died and five wounded. Bardere is not an al-Shabaab camp so we had no injuries or deaths caused.
What strategy are you using to defend yourself from Kenyan forces and the others like TFG?
We have expert fighters and defenders in Gedo, but at the time of airstrike bombardments we have to tactically hide in the forest.
Hundreds of villagers have fled from Garbahaarey district after al-Shabaab fighters attempted to take control of the town. Why do you want to take over the town?
TFG and ASWJ are unbelievers, and if we let people live with them they will become unbelievers, and that is why we want to take over the town of Garboharey.
Are there any foreign fighters backing you or staying with you in Gedo?
Yes, and they help us mostly with the training.
Which countries are they from?
They have trained in Afghanistan, but their nationalities are different. They are Pakistani, Yemeni, Africans and Europeans.