MOGADISHU, (Reuters) – Somalia’s hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab said on Friday it was ready to send reinforcements to al Qaeda in Yemen should the U.S. carry out retaliatory strikes, and urged other Muslims to follow suit.
Yemen-based al Qaeda groups have come under intense scrutiny since the Nigerian who tried to explode a bomb aboard a Detroit-bound Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam was linked to the country.
Yemeni and American officials are reported to have mulled targets for retaliatory strikes against such groups inside Yemen.
“We call upon all Muslims to give a hand to our brothers in Yemen and we, al Shabaab, are ready to send them reinforcements … and Inshallah we shall win over America,” said Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abuu Mansuur, a senior al Shabaab official. He urged hundreds of the group’s soldiers, who marched around the northern parts of the battle-scarred capital in brand-new uniforms, to redouble their efforts in the fight.
Somalia has had no central government for 18 years and efforts to install one have been greatly undermined by the insurgency led by al Shabaab, which Washington views as al Qaeda’s proxy in the region.