New Muslim Brotherhood Leader in Somalia

New Muslim Brotherhood Leader in Somalia

Protesting a disappointing performance and failure to rise up to the needs of the country and its people, the seniors of the Muslim Brotherhood group in Somalia recently elected a new leadership.
“Dr. Ali el-Sheikh Abu Bakr has been replaced by Sheikh Othman Ahmed Ibrahim,” the group, known as the Islamic Movement in the Horn of Africa, said in a statement obtained by decision came at the conclusion of an extraordinary five-day meeting, held in an undisclosed location, that brought together senior members of the group.

Sheikh Ibrahim, the former dean of the Shari`ah College in Mogadishu University, will serve as leader of the group for only two years until the 2010 general congress.The meeting also decided to disband all the bodies of the movement, including its Shura and executive councils, and amending its bylaw to separate the posts of leader and chaiman of the Shura council.

Senior leaders were for years critical of the fact that outgoing Abu Bakr held both positions, undermining any chance for self-criticism and improving within the group.Somalia”s wing of the Muslim Brotherhood is locally known as the Reform Movement.It was formed in 1978 and slowly grew in the 1980s.The group became a key player after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991.During the 1990s, the movement devoted much effort to humanitarian efforts and providing free basic social services.It contributed to educating the Somali people and the establishment of Mogadishu University.

Ethiopian Factor

The group statement particularly criticized the sacked leadership over its position with regard to the Ethiopian deployment in Somalia.”Instead of standing firmly against this brazen aggression and mobilizing the people against it, the leadership continued to work with the proxy interim government that invited the occupiers,” said the statement.The group accused its outgoing leadership of justifying the Ethiopian “invasion” and thus discouraging many from joining the “jihad” against the Ethiopian troops.Backed by the United States, the Ethiopian army invaded Somalia last year to topple the Islamic Courts at the request of the weak interim government.

The Islamic Courts, which ruled for six months after routing a Washington-backed alliance of warlords, managed to briefly restore unprecedented order and stability on most of the Somali territories after more than 15 years of unrest.But since their ouster, Somalia has descended into chaos with almost daily attacks against Ethiopian troops and government forces.

At least nine people were killed and more than 75 wounded Thursday in clashes between Ethiopian forces and Somali fighters in southern Mogadishu.The Islamic Courts fighters have recently been recapturing key towns in south-central Somalia.Somali experts have told IOL that the Courts fighters have grown more powerful in recent months, regaining control of nearly one-third of Somalia thanks to sophisticated attacks and unified ranks in the face of the weak government.