A senior Somali official stated on Wednesday that a group of 12 Al-Qaeda members in the last two weeks had crossed from Yemen into Somalia in order to render rebels fighting the Western-backed government money and military expertise.
“Our intelligence shows 12 senior Al-Qaeda officials came into Somalia from Yemen in the last two weeks”,Somali Treasury Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman told Reuters by telephone. “They were sent off to assess the situation to see if Al-Qaeda may move its biggest military bases to southern Somalia since they are facing a lot of pressure in Afghanistan and Iraq“, he added.
Osman did not specify the names of the Al-Qaeda members nor their rank within the organisation, but he thinks that the group has brought money to Al- Shabaab as the latter has faced difficulties in recruiting more fighters due to a shortage of cash.
Earlier this week, the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the moderate Islamistgroup Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca warned of possible terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab fighters in Mogadishu and in some neighbouring states, including Kenya and Djibouti.