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Al Qaeda or Islamic State? Somalia’s Al-Shabaab divided over shifting its allegiance

THE Somalia militant group Al-Shabaab are divided over whether to shift their allegiance from Al Qaeda to the Islamic State, a move reportedly seen by some in the organisation as a way of revitalising their jihadist credentials, recruitment and sources of funding, intelligence officials told AFP.

The reports came as Uganda said Thursday it was boosting security over threats by Somalia’s Shebab militants, after the US embassy in Kampala warned its citizens of a possible imminent terror attack.

In an emergency warning, the US mission in Kampala said it had “received information of possible terrorist threats to locations where Westerners, including US citizens, congregate in Kampala, and that an attack may take place soon”.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the US mission has cancelled some non-essential events scheduled at local hotels in the coming days,” the embassy warning said, telling US citizens they “should expect increased security sweeps and delays when entering or exiting hotel areas”.

Ugandan defence spokesman Paddy Ankunda said the warning was “absolutely” linked to the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists, who carried out twin bombings in Kampala in 2010, killing 76 people, but who have been thwarted in their attempts to carry out subsequent attacks in Uganda.

Uganda’s police chief Kale Kayihura said the militants were planning strikes against “vulnerable places” in Kampala including hotels, shopping malls, markets and parks.

“I have no doubt that with the vigilance of the public and the time-tested effectiveness of our security forces we shall once again defeat even this latest, desperate attempt by evil forces,” he said in a statement.

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