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farayarenews )bbc source A key al-Shabab leader in Somalia, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, has so far refused to surrender, elders from his clan have told the BBC Somali Service. The UN has reported that Mr Aweys has handed himself over to a pro-government administration in central Somalia after falling out with al-Shabab’s leader. But Mr Aweys is in Galmudug region with his militia with the consent of the local authorities, the elders say. They had flown there from the capital to see if he was willing to make peace. Mr Aweys is seen as the elder statesman of Somali Islamists and has been on a US list of people “linked to terrorism” since shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Analysts say the administration in Adado – a town about 500km (310 miles) north of the capital, Mogadishu – where Mr Aweys arrived earlier in the week, does not want to provoke clashes. ‘Split’ Mr Aweys left al-Shabab territory after factions within the al-Qaeda linked group clashed last week – the first deadly infighting since it launched an insurgency in 2006. Elders from Mr Aweys’ Haber Gedir clan, which is powerful in the Galmudug region, told the BBC they had been trying to mediate his surrender after his arrival in Adado. They do not officially represent the UN-backed government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, though it seems likely he is fully aware of the negotiations taking place, the BBC’s international development correspondent Mark Doyle says. The elders told the BBC Somali Service that negotiations with the al-Shabab commander had so far failed. Mr Aweys denied that he had left al- Shabab and refused to go to Mogadishu, join the government or enter mediation talks with the government, they said. Analysts say if the split within al-Shabab is serious, Mr Aweys may try to leave the country. If he stays in central Somalia he is at risk of capture from Ethiopian troops, who back the Somali government, they say. Al-Shabab, which means “The Youth”, is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia – and despite being pushed out of key cities in the past two years still remains in control of smaller towns and large swathes of the countryside. It was formed in 2006 as a radical offshoot of the now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which was led by Mr Aweys and for much of that year controlled Mogadishu and many southern and central areas. The exact cause of the al-Shabab split is not known, but there has been a long-running internal power struggle between its leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and those seen as more moderate who oppose links with al-Qaeda, analysts say. There are conflicting reports about the fate of the second-in-command – Ibrahim Afghan, the al-Shabab founder – following last week’s fighting. Initially, sources told the BBC he had been captured and was in al-Shabab detention; subsequent reports in local media say he has been executed. Some 18,000 African Union troops are in Somalia supporting the government of President Mohamud who was elected by MPs last September. His administration is the first one in more than two decades to be recognised by the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A key al-Shabab leader in Somalia, Sheikh
Hassan Dahir Aweys, has so far refused
to surrender, elders from his clan have
told the BBC Somali Service.
The UN has reported that Mr Aweys has
handed himself over to a pro-government
administration in central Somalia after falling out
with al-Shabab’s leader.
But Mr Aweys is in Galmudug region with his
militia with the consent of the local authorities,
the elders say.
They had flown there from the capital to see if
he was willing to make peace.
Mr Aweys is seen as the elder statesman of
Somali Islamists and has been on a US list of
people “linked to terrorism” since shortly after
the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Analysts say the administration in Adado – a
town about 500km (310 miles) north of the
capital, Mogadishu – where Mr Aweys arrived
earlier in the week, does not want to provoke
clashes.
‘Split’
Mr Aweys left al-Shabab territory after factions
within the al-Qaeda linked group clashed last
week – the first deadly infighting since it
launched an insurgency in 2006.
Elders from Mr Aweys’ Haber Gedir clan, which
is powerful in the Galmudug region, told the
BBC they had been trying to mediate his
surrender after his arrival in Adado.
They do not officially represent the UN-backed
government of President Hassan Sheikh
Mohamud, though it seems likely he is fully
aware of the negotiations taking place, the
BBC’s international development
correspondent Mark Doyle says.
The elders told the
BBC Somali Service
that negotiations
with the al-Shabab
commander had so
far failed.
Mr Aweys denied
that he had left al-
Shabab and refused
to go to Mogadishu,
join the government
or enter mediation
talks with the
government, they
said.
Analysts say if the split within al-Shabab is
serious, Mr Aweys may try to leave the country.
If he stays in central Somalia he is at risk of
capture from Ethiopian troops, who back the
Somali government, they say.
Al-Shabab, which means “The Youth”, is fighting
to create an Islamic state in Somalia – and
despite being pushed out of key cities in the
past two years still remains in control of smaller
towns and large swathes of the countryside.
It was formed in 2006 as a radical offshoot of the
now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which was
led by Mr Aweys and for much of that year
controlled Mogadishu and many southern and
central areas.
The exact cause of the al-Shabab split is not
known, but there has been a long-running
internal power struggle between its leader
Ahmed Abdi Godane and those seen as more
moderate who oppose links with al-Qaeda,
analysts say.
There are conflicting reports about the fate of
the second-in-command – Ibrahim Afghan, the
al-Shabab founder – following last week’s
fighting. Initially, sources told the BBC he had
been captured and was in al-Shabab detention;
subsequent reports in local media say he has
been executed.
Some 18,000 African Union troops are in Somalia
supporting the government of President
Mohamud who was elected by MPs last
September.
His administration is the first one in more than
two decades to be recognised by the US and
the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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