Al-Shabab Pledges Loyalty to Bin Laden
By VOA News
22 September 2009
Somali insurgent group al-Shabab has pledged its allegiance to Osama bin Laden in a new video released to Islamist Web sites.
The 48-minute video shows crowds chanting "at your service, Osama," and contains the voice of an al-Shabab leader, Abu Zubayr, saying "we await your guidance in this advanced stage of jihad."
The tape also shows al-Shabab militants engaged in street battles and doing training exercises. One of the trainers is an American, known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, instructing a group of combatants.
The video appears to be a response to a bin Laden audio message in March, in which the al-Qaida leader urged Somalis to overthrow President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
U.S. officials have repeatedly linked al-Shabab to al-Qaida, and say the Somali group is harboring terrorists.
Earlier this month, a U.S. commando raid in southern Somalia killed a Kenyan-born terrorist suspect, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, wanted in connection with attacks in Mombasa, Kenya in 2002.
Al-Shabab controls large parts of southern Somalia and the capital, Mogadishu. The group seeks to topple the Western-backed Somali government and replace it with an Islamic state.
The group has already imposed its strict interpretation of Islamic law in the areas it controls, and in some instances has chopped off the hands and feet of people it accuses of being criminals.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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