Shabaab deploys 'new batch of Mujahideen fighters'
Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, released two photographs of what it claimed are newly trained "Mujahideen fighters" who are to be deployed to Hiran and Galgaduud in central Somalia and are to serve with the "Ali bin Abu Talib" battalion. Shabaab released brief statements, which are reproduced below, and two photographs on its Twitter accounts:
A new batch of Mujahideen fighters recently graduated from the training camps
The Mujahideen will join the battalion of Ali bin Abu Talib that operates throughout Galgaduud and Hiiraan regions
In the photos, Shabaab is seen flying al Qaeda's flag (this is no surprise as Shabaab officially merged with al Qaeda in early 2012). In one of the photographs, a long line of fighters is seen marching; at least 100 fighters are shown in the picture.
While some Somalia watchers dismiss Shabaab as being sidelined after losing control of most of the major cities it held in the south over the past two years, the terror group is, as the photo above demonstrates, able to mass large numbers of fighters in the open, run training camps, and conduct attacks against African Union and Somali forces. Additionally, Shabaab still controls much of the rural areas of southern Somalia.