By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
Somalia-based insurgent group, Al-Shabaab, have released a video purportedly showing its fighters at a graduation ceremony.
According to the group, its fighters were from neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as Uganda and Tanzania. The event was supervised by its spokesman, Ali Dhere.
The video showed the gun-wielding masked soldiers in a bushy setting. They are all dressed in military apparel marching as Ali Dhere also holding a gun looks on. They chant slogans that have Al-Qaeda shouts at the end of each chorus.
Pictures also showed the spokesperson addressing the soldiers who all sat on the ground with legs crossed. According to local journalists, he singled out Kenya for criticisms.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in a report last year, officially labeled al-Shabaab militants as a transnational security threat in the East Africa region.
The Somali government has vowed to crush the militants in two years. President Farmaajo recently offered them amnesty and asked them to come to the negotiation table.
The group has continually called the government’s bluff and has claimed a series of bomb attacks on civilian populations and some military installations. The group is currently fighting the Somali national army and an African Union force (AMISOM) which pushed them out of Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab controls parts of Somalia and has staged attacks in neighbouring countries especially in Kenya. Ethiopia also has a military mission in the country but has recently withdrawn troops due to anti-government protests of 2016. The government has denied the claims.