Somali gov't confirms that Al-Shabaab terrorists ready to negotiate
Negotiations are only a possibility for the group consisting of locals since the group of foreigners have only one possibility: "to return to where they are from"
The Somalian government has confirmed that the al-Shabaab terrorist group requested to negotiations after the army launched an "all-out war" against them.
Speaking to the media, Deputy Defense Minister Abdifatah Kasim said in Mogadishu: “Al-Shabaab has requested negotiations with the Somali government, but there are two groups within al-Shabaab. The first faction consists of foreigners, and the second is comprised of local Somalis. The locals have a chance to open up negotiations, but the foreigners who invaded our country have no right to engage in talks.”
He underlined that negotiations are only a possibility for the group consisting of locals since the group of foreigners face one possibility: "to return to where they are from," as he assured that the government is "ready to receive" locals willing to surrender. If they do, they are advised to follow government-provided instructions to reintegrate with society - in case they do not, they will "face the Somali National Army in the front lines."
This marks the first time the terrorist group has ever requested contact and negotiations with the Somali government, but there has been no direct confirmation from the group as of yet. Back in September, Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced during his visit ot the US that the group has not shown any willingness to negotiate even though the government is open to negotiations.
"We believe that al-Shabaab will not end with the barrel of gun, but they are not ready to negotiate. So we have to take them to a place where they prefer to negotiate and lay aside the lethal tactics that they are using right now," he stated.
Al-Shabaab active for more than a decade
Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda-linked group has been waging an insurgency against the central government for more than a decade. It managed to be active in parts of Somalia and other countries of the Horn of Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has amped up military operations against the terrorist organization.
In August, the Al-Shabaab group stormed the popular Hayat Hotel in a hail of gunfire and bomb blasts, killing eight people and the militants claimed responsibility for the attack in a brief statement on a pro-Shabaab website. "A group of Al-Shabaab attackers forcibly entered Hotel Hayat in Mogadishu, the fighters are carrying out random shooting inside the hotel," the group said.
In October, 200 militants from the Al-Shabaab movement were killed during an army military operation in the Hiran region in the center of the country and a month later, they stormed the Villa Rose Hotel in Mogadishu.