Somalia’s government has signed a deal with a militia group to join forces in an expected military offensive against armed groups fighting to topple the Somali administration.
Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca (ASWJ), which is made up of moderate Sufi Muslims, reached an agreement to work together to battle al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam fighters.
ASWJ’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Mahmoud Sheikh Hassan, said the groups would need financial support from the international community to integrate their administrative, leadership and military structures and fight al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam.
He added that the clashes in Somalia were not against the people but ideology and that the agreement is to save the people of Somalia and the reputation of the Islamic faith.
Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam have been fighting the western-backed transitional government since 2007 and at least 21,000 Somalis have been killed, 1.5 million have been uprooted from their homes and nearly 500,000 are sheltering in other countries in the region.