Mogadishu, Somalia, April 28, 2012 – Sierra Leone Government has vowed
to go ahead with its Somalia deployment plan despite threats from Al-Shabaab.
The government said its decision to send peacekeeping forces was not
just because of its membership of the UN and the African Union, but also
in fulfillment of its responsibility to contribute to international
peace and security as other countries had done for Sierra Leone during
its years of civil turmoil.
The government was responding to recent reports citing an Al-Shabaab
military commander warning against the deployment of some 850 troops as
part of the UN-funded African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom).
“We, as the Mujahideen in Somalia, tell the government and the people of
Sierra Leone not to dispatch their boys to Somalia, otherwise they will
collect more bodies from here as failed Kenyans do,” a local radio
linked to the terror group quoted the commander as saying.
“We will fight them as we fought against the crusaders of Kenya, Amisom
and the Christian Ethiopians,” he added.
There has been heated public debate in Sierra Leone over the rationale
of sending troops to Somalia, and it is these fears which the government
statement was aiming to allay.
“The Al-Shabaab threat directed at RSLAF [Republic of Sierra Leone Armed
Forces] is taken seriously,” the statement said, adding that “necessary
security measures are being put in place to ensure a successful
Since the reports of the Al-Shabaab threats emerged, there have been
many calls, made mainly through the media, for the government to rethink
Sources say the military high command has been busy assuring their
civilian superiors of their preparedness for the deployment.
There is the added fear of possible Al-Shabaab action inside Sierra
Leone itself amid reports of deadly attacks by the militant group inside
“The security of the state is the collective responsibility of all
Sierra Leoneans and foreigners alike,” the Sierra Leone Government
statement said, urging members of the public to report any “suspicious
activity” they deemed to be against national security.
From Somalia, the radical Islamist fervently opposed to the Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) vowed Friday to kill anyone who voted in favour
of the country's draft constitution.
The Al-Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Raghe, said: “Anybody
approving the (draft) constitution will be killed (by Al-Shabaab
The hardliner clergyman stressed that some of the articles in the draft
were against Islam.
“Anybody approving the document will be considered as having abandoned
Islam,” the sheikh said.
He urged all those engaged in the preparation of the constitution
approval to refrain from doing so.
Sheikh Raghe was reacting to a statement issued on Monday, which quoted
Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali affirming the finalization of the
draft constitution on April 20.
It added that the draft constitution would be presented to the National
Constituent Assembly on May 15 for adoption.
Source: Africa Review