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Somali Civil War
Hizbul Islam
Flag of Jihad.svg
Leaders Hassan Aweys
Years active: January 2009–present
Headquarters: Kismayo (until 1 October, 2009)
Operating Areas: Southern and Central Somalia
Preceded by: Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia; Jabhatul Islamiya; Mu'askar Ras Kamboni; Muaskar Anole
Allies:  ???
Opponents: Somalia Islamic Courts Flag.svg al-Shabaab
Somalia Transitional Federal Government
AMISOM
 United States[citation needed]

Hizbul Islam ("Islamic Party"), also known as Hizbul Islaami, Hisbi Islam, or Hezb-ul Islam is a Somali Islamists insurgent group. The organization was founded by the Swedish Islamist leader Ali Yassin Mohamed.[1] It was formed after four Islamist groups merged to fight the new Somali government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. The four groups were: Hassan Aweys' ARS-Eritrea, Jabhatul Islamiya ("Islamic Front"), Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki's Mu'askar Ras Kamboni (Ras Kamboni Brigade) and Muaskar Anole. These groups previously took part in the Islamist Insurgency against Ethiopia and the TFG. They also announced plans to merge with al-Shabaab, Somalia's most known insurgent group.[2] On 7 February 2009, they announced they would continue fighting the new government led by president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and the AU forces in Mogadishu. One of the group's leaders, Omar Iman said "The so-called government led by Sharif Sheik Ahmed is not different from the one of Abdulahi Yusuf" and that they would continue the holy war (Jihad).[3] Sheikh Omar Iman Abubakar was appointed as the group's chairman, he is a high ranking official of the Eritirean based faction of the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia.[4]

On February 28, it appeared that Hisbi Islam would sign a ceasefire with the Transitional Federal Government.[5] However, by March 1 it was clear that no ceasefire would be given, despite President Sharif Ahmed having agreed to proposals for a truce and having offered to accept the implementation of Sharia Law.[6]

Contents

Internal power struggle (24 March – 17 May 2009)

On March 24, there was reported to be a power struggle in the Hizbul Islam faction as a group claiming to represent Hizbul Islam held a press conference in Mogadishu that Omar Iman was no longer the Chairman of the group and that he had been replaced by Sheikh Mohamed Hassan Ahmed, another Islamic cleric. The press conference was attended by several important members of Hizbul Islam, most notably the notorious ex-warlord Yusuf Mohammed Siad Inda'ade (Indho Ade). Sheik Da'ud Mohamed Abtidon, who claimed to be the new spokesman for the group accused Omar Iman of refusing to accept the Islamic scholars' calls for a ceasefire, in return for AMISOM withdraw. Indho Ade was quoted as saying "The group [Hizbul Islam] has agreed to remove Sheikh Omar Iman since he made a mistake and violated the group's laws." Sheikh Mohamed Hassan Ahmed declared cease-fire and entered negotiations for implemention of Sharia Law and AMISOM withdraw in return for joining with the government. [7]

However, Hassan Dahir Aweys, the group's most powerful figure, rejected the claims made by Indo Ade that Sheikh Omar Iman had been removed as chairman. He was quoted as saying "No one can take authority away from Sheikh Omar Iman, because the group [Hizbul Islam] appointed him as chairman." Aweys said that Indo Ade and the others from the press conference should form own group instead of doing what he described as "trying to destroy Hizbul Islam.[8] Prior to this Sheikh Omar Iman had denied that Indho Ade was the group's defence secretary.[9]

This has led to Hizbul Islami dividing in two, with one group led by Indho Ade and the other led by Hassan Aweys (with Omar Iman as chairman).[10][11]

21 April, 2009, Anole and the Ras Kamboni brigades fought each other in a village called Abdalla Birole, which lies 40 km west of Kismayo. This happened after Anole fighters invaded a village called Bulo Haji, while Ras Kamboni Brigade fighters arrived in Abdalla Birole and they clashed. The situation in the two villages was said to be tense, 4 people were killed and 7 injured during the fighting.[12]

4 May, 2009, al-Shabaab and members of the main faction of Hizbul Islam, led by Hassan Aweys and Omar Iman, attacked a base used by Indho Ade's group of Hizbul Islam. Indho Ade's lieutenants claimed that al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam trying to expand territory into areas under the control of Indho Ade's milita.[13]

12 May, 2009, Indho Ade handed over his arms to Sheikh Aweys, ending the groups division.[14] However, soon after, he defected to the government.

26 May, Omar Iman Abubakr stepped down as chairman and handed over his position to Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who was already the most powerfull figure in the group.[15]

War with al-Shabaab

On October, 1, 2009, armed conflict between Hizbul Islam and al-Shabaab began over who was in control of the port town of Kisimayo. On the battle that followed Hizbul Islam was expelled from the city and it was expelled from most of Southern Somalia in the following months. Their presence only remains in Gedo region, Hiraan region and the capital. [1]

Leaders

Former leaders

See also

References

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