Al-Shabab has links with al-Qaeda: US
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 14:46
Washington: The agenda of African terror group al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for Sunday's bomb blast in Ugandan capital Kampala that killed 76 people, is very similar to that of al-Qaeda and there are links between the two outfits, according to US officials.

"Al-Shabab is a group that is associated with al-Qaeda and these links between their organisations have existed for quite some time," a senior Obama Administration official said yesterday.

"Its agenda is very similar to al-Qaeda's agenda... It has engaged in terrorist tactics inside of Somalia extensively. It is responsible for the assassination of a number of Somali peace activists, international aid workers, numerous civil society figures, as well as journalists," the unnamed official said.

The United States has dispatched a team of FBI officials to assist Ugandan authorities in the investigation into the deadly Kampala attack which took place during the football world cup final in South Africa.

"One of the things that we want to make sure that we do now is take stock of the recent developments and the attacks in Kampala and to take a look and see what it is that we need to do as a result of those attacks," the official said.

"In the first instance, what we're trying to do is to lend support to the Ugandan government, but also what we need to do now is to look at the situation in Somalia and to determine if this is a trend that al-Shabab is going to be on, and to take all appropriate measures," he added.

The senior Administration official said there are a number of US persons who have travelled to Somalia to join up with al-Shabab, as well as with al-Qaeda. This is something that the US is watching very closely.

"Al-Shabab also has denied the passage of humanitarian assistance to a number of displaced individuals inside of Somalia, by preventing access to certain areas and hijacking humanitarian aid and assistance," he said.

Al-Shabab was designated a foreign terrorist group in 2008. The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on it earlier this year.

"We have taken a number of steps against al-Shabab including -- the President in April of this year issued an executive order... that targets those who threaten peace and stability in Somalia and those who interfere with humanitarian assistance there," the official said.

"Al-Shabab has a domestic agenda inside of Somalia that is a bloody one. It also has a terrorist agenda that now has manifested itself outside of Somalia and other countries. And this is something that we are going to work very closely with regional governments to counter."


First Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 14:46

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