Published On: Sat, Mar 12th, 2011

SOMALIA: Ahlu Sunna part of government – TFG minister

NAIROBI – Abdiwali Mohamed Ali, Somalia’s transitional minister of planning and international cooperation told BBC Somali-Services that Somalia’s moderate Ahlu Sunna Waljama (ASWJ) militia were part of his regime on Saturday.

He proclaimed the Sufi paramilitary group operating mainly in central Somalia which consists of former warlords and religious clerics were using “Ahlu Sunna Waljama” as a label but they are a government militia. He added they have number of senior ministers and military officials within the TFG and are well represented.

In march 2010, Ahlu Sunna Waljama and Somalia’s transitional government led by former cleric Sheikh Sharif signed a power sharing agreement in the Ethiopian capital. The Sufis, however said while their fighters were happy to operate along side the TFG forces against al-Shabab, the TFG has failed to fulfil the agreement terms.

A Pro-government militant from the Sufi sect Ahlusunna, patrols in southern Mogadishu's Bermuda neighborhood (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

A Pro-government militant from the Sufi sect Ahlusunna, patrols in southern Mogadishu's Bermuda neighborhood (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

The chairman of ASWJ, Sheikh Omar Abdikadir Aden, insists his group only has one senior figure in the TFG cabinet.

It is unclear how Ahlu Sunna will react to the latest claims by a senior TFG figure saying the group are loyal to his regime and were only using the “Ahlu Sunna” shirt for other purposes. He made the remarks while visiting the United States along with his prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo”.

Ahlu Sunna are Sufi group made up of religious clerics and former warlords who insist they have been prosecuted under al-Shabab. Many of their Sufi shrines and tombs of “saints” in southern Somalia were destroyed by al-Shabab over the past few years. Al-Shabab which follows more strict teachings of Islam considers shrines and tombs a cult. They say people should be praying directly to God rather than saints and shrines of dead people. On the other hand, Ahlu Sunna follows a mystical sect within Islam that arrived in the Horn of Africa in the 15th century. The group operates in the central regions of Galgadud, Gedo and Mudug as well as parts of the capital Mogadishu.

On Friday Ahlu Sunna militants supported by Ethiopian forces launched premeditated attacks against several al-Shabab fronts in central Somalia. At least 15 people were killed and scores injured according to eye witnesses in El-Lahelay, a village near the central town of Dhusamareb, in Galgudud region. Many of the casualties are said to be Ahlu Sunna fighters and the group has retreated back from the village.

Somalia has not had a functioning government in two decades, and piracy has flourished off its coast.

Somalilandpress | 12 March 2011

  • Roble Yare

    There is no such thing as a moderate civilian in Somalia. They are all warlords and vampires. Their most religious, most holiest would become their most evil if you show him few pennies. Look at Sheikh Sharif he use to claim to be a holyman now he is the biggest warlord.

    This is their character and deeds. No one should trust their "moderate" labels they are all the same and will show their true colors later.

  • ali

    Roble you are right. ASWJ are no different from Alshabab, except that they belong to Farmaajo's clan.

    • pedant

      Most Ahlu Sunna members are Rahanweyn, actually. Farmajo is Marehan Darod.

  • somali

    asalamu alaikum you shouldn't paint everyone with the same brush its not right and unfair. if you was living there you wouldn't want people to do that to you so dont do that to others.

  • sanaag

    everyone has their own believes but i think shiekh sharif is a good leader who cares about somalian ppl.

    • mohamed

      If he is then all warlords are good leaders.
      Cheers.

  • mohamed

    There's nothing wrong with the sufism teachings and practices of ahlu sunna waljamea but this
    ASWJ in Somalia belongs to Barre Hiraale and Farmaajo it's a Marehan militia gangster group.
    ASWJ fits well the TFG warlord ways and may have the full support of the Ethiopian Regime
    for obvious reasons of Siad Barre helping the Tigray liberation movement back then. As regards
    the TFG president Sharif Ahmed a deserter and betrayer of the UIC and the way he handles the TFG
    political issues are in my view worst than Abdullahi Yusuf. With ASWJ, PM Farmaajo and TFG
    President Sharif Ahmed with NUr Cadde in Rome to prepare another Military for Somalia if that
    can work for them the future of Somalia is further thrown into yet another unknown darkness.
    Cheers.

  • goldogob-boy

    guys most of our somali communty are vampires dats why they are having hell on earth cuz they brought it on themselfs so unless pple change it will always be like this or worse

    • mohamed

      generalising is no good what's your point?
      Cheers.

  • Kayse

    The funny thing is Marehans and Daroods under the Sayid (the mad Mullah) use to claim they are anti-sufism even though the Sayid himself was a Sufi, so if he was the father of extremism and sufism, what has changed in 80 years or so to make them to be classified as "moderate".

    Those people are so ignorant the word dervishes (darawish in nomadic tongue) is a Persian term which is another term for Sufis.

    Members of Sufi orders are commonly called dervishes, from the Persian daraawish (singular darwish, "one who gave up worldly concerns to dedicate himself to the service of God and community").

    Lets recall the Sayid did not like the people of Berbera because they followed the teachings of Qadiriyah, the oldest Sufi order, was founded in Baghdad by Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in 1166. Sayid himself a sufi followed the teachings of Salihiyah, which was founded in 1887 by Muhammad ibn Salih, it spread amongs the Ogadens (Sayid was an Ogaden). But before them it spread to the Hawiye clan of Arjuns.

  • Kayse

    So is they are the same extremists in 1920s, have their teachings changed? When did they became "moderate"? when they inspired like today's al qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden. Sayid Abdullah Hassan aka Mad Mullah's Salihiyah is the same teachings ASWJ follows. They are extremists staying low, thats what people need to understand.

    • Kayse

      is = if

  • fg d

    They don't have purpose of life. That is why al-quida gave them fighting purpose.

  • Somaliland_Dalkayga

    BOTH ALHU SUNNA AND AL-SHABAAB ARE TERRORIST FROM THE MAREHAN CLAN. AND THEY ARE ALLIED SSC DHULBANTE CLAN AND THE ONLF OGADEN CLAN.

  • mohamed

    Both sects Qadiriyah founded 1166H and Salihiyah founded 1886H are perfectly sound in the old
    ways but Faqash dirty politics of Somalia have screwed them both for their tribalist selfish ignorant
    ends. Again both sects in their old Hijria teachings are perfect. The dervish mad Mullah who fought
    the British Garison Regiment in Somaliland continues to this day by the Faqash of Daroodism
    what have you rowday sick mentalities ofcourse to underminedestablise the good Somalilanders.
    Cheers.

    • mohamed

      Correction: Undermine and destablize the good Somalilanders.
      Cheers.

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