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Al-Shabaab forcing youth to join army

Sunday January 8 2012

By ABDULKADIR KHALIF NATION Correspondent

MOGADISHU, Sunday      

Reports from Afgoye town, 30 kilometres south of Mogadishu, a stronghold of Al-Shabaab, the radical Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, indicate that militia leaders are forcing the youth to join their fighters in the jihad (holy war).

Residents in the town confirmed that Al-Shabaab loyalists were moving around in battlewagons fitted with loud speakers on Friday, urging the youngsters to register for war.

“The Wilaya (authority) in Afgoye is urging you (the youth) to report to the offices of the movement (Al-Shabaab),” announced the notice.

The message specified that the jihad is against the TFG forces and the peacekeepers serving the African Union Mission in Somalia, Amisom.

The obligatory conscription by Al-Shabaab is also taking place in parts of Middle Shabelle region, north of Mogadishu.

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The affected areas include Runil-goud, Eel-ba’ad and other coastal settlements, northeast of Mogadishu.

“Any youth who do not report to the authority will be traced home,” said the announcement in Afgoye town.

“A defiant will face appropriate measures,” warned the militants without specifying the actions likely to be taken.

On Saturday, the National Security Agency put on display a man and a woman said to have been apprehended while handling explosive devices in Mogadishu.