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The only option is peace, President Mohamud challenges Al-Shabaab over ISIL allegiance

Storyline:National News

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has chided Al-Shabaab over claims it was joining ISIL noting that the move signified lack of any ideological reasoning.

The president further challenged the group to drop its terror activities and take advantage of the government amnesty which he said had seen many Al-Shabaab adherents benefit from and have been integrated into their communities.

“This falling out amongst al-Shabaab is symptomatic of a group that has lost its way, its ideology and is clinging to an option of last resort. We do not need a new brand of horror and repression in Somalia. Somalia has had enough of any brand of terrorist,” the president said.

President Mohamud said any terror group, including ISIL claims to fight a holy war to establish a caliphate but there is nothing holy about their methods and purpose. He added that his government was keen on its amnesty programme with a condition the group shunned violence and denounced its doctrine of violence.

“Our only condition is that you reject al-Shabaab and its doctrine of violence, and that you pledge to follow the path of peaceful resolution to conflict. You will not be alone. Hundreds have chosen this path. Hundreds have chosen peace and a future: learning new skills, earning an honest livelihood and participating in rebuilding Somalia,” said Mohamud.

The president’s remarks comes days after a section of Al-Shabaab in some parts of Puntland claimed it was pledging its allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL. Al-Shabaab which has all along aligned itself to Al-Qaeda is said to be undergoing internal strife after calls from the Nigeria based terror group Boko Haram for it to drop Al-Qaeda and embrace ISIL.

But President Mohamdu has strongly told them there is no better option but only peace. “Do not think that your choice is limited to one of two puppet-masters, al-Qa’ida or Da’esh. There is another option- the right and holy option: the path to peace,” added Mohamud.

The President issued a statement on his official visit to Saudi Arabia before jetting off to Indian for the India-Africa Summit.