UPDATE: Somali Rebels Say “No thanks” to al Qaeda

At least one of Somalia’s Islamist insurgent groups has rejected al Qaeda’s call to sabotage the recent (partial) peace that the UN recently helped broker in the country.

Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia Deputy Chairman Abdirahman Abdishakur, who was in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, rejected the terrorist appeal.

“I do not think we are interested in al-Qaida’s statements and they have nothing to do with Somali issues. Al-Qaida has not got any base in Somalia and they always issue statements against any peace process. I do not think their statements are relevant to the Somali people,” said Abdishakur.

Abdishakur has exposed al Qaeda’ attempted interference for what it is: a transparent and ill-substantiated ploy to exacerbate tensions on the ground, impede any progress toward a cessation of hostilities, and, most likely, to induce fear in those committed to bringing peace to Somalia.

Unfortunately, not all of Somalia’s fractured opposition has so clearly repudiated al Qaeda’s involvement, and the more militant groups — those that did not sign the ceasefire — share the commitment to unraveling the deal. Leaders of these organizations called the peace agreement “rubbish and inconsequential” and vowed to undermine it through increased attacks — promises they have sadly followed up on. No sign yet that al Qaeda involvement is any more than hortatory, but it would not be the first time that the organization operated out of Somalia, or fed on another country’s instability and violence. More terrorist activity is, of course, the last thing that Somalia needs right now.