Al Shabaab cracks widen as leader Abu Ubeiydah battles cancer | The Star, Kenya Skip to main content
August 21, 2018

Al Shabaab cracks widen as leader Abu Ubeiydah battles cancer

Ailing al Shabaab leader Abu Ubeiydah in this undated photo. /COURTESY
Ailing al Shabaab leader Abu Ubeiydah in this undated photo. /COURTESY

Supremacy battles among deputies to bed-ridden al Shabaab leader Abu Ubeiydah have reportedly widened inside the outfit's camp.

Ubeiydah’s health has worsened in the last six months, with no hope that he will recover from stomach cancer.

He has been at the helm of the group since 2014 when Ahmed Godane was killed.

Ubeiydah has, however, been very unpopular among the militants. They term his tenure as the worst time ever for the terror group.

His reign has been marred by defections, executions of foreign fighters and terror attacks in and outside Somalia that have left many Muslims dead.

Ubeiydah's quest to regain his health has left the group ungovernable with infighting.

It was expected that his deputies would start working together after his death but current hostilities show there will not be an amicable solution to the succession war.

The Shura council – which is in charge of decision making and appointing new leaders for the militants - is said to have split into two.

Majority of the members are from the Hawiye clan. They hurriedly appointed one of their own, Hassan Fiidow, as the preferred successor upon Ubeiydah's death.

The appointment has caused cracks within the council and al Shabaab's external ranks.

Majority of the fighters, said to hail from Darod clan, feel shortchanged by the council.

Reports said Mahat Karate - the head of intelligence - was the preferred successor. Karate is reportedly gathering troops so it is suspected that he will attempt a coup against whoever takes over.

His next move is being monitored closely and will determine the future the terror group.

Countries in the region want the group crushed as attacks have left many, including solders, dead or severely injured.

Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have contributed troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia and are determined to restore peace and stability in Somalia and the region.

Read: Why al Shabaab targets Kenya – and what we can do about it

Also read: Inside Kenya army's war on al Shabaab in Somalia

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