NAIROBI, Sep 22 – Somalia’s hardline Islamist group Shebab has released a 48-minute video documentary in which they proclaim their allegiance to Al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden.
The authenticity of the document — released for the Eid al-Fitr feast marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan — was confirmed by a Shebab official in Mogadishu.
Entitled "Labaik ya Osama" (At your service, Osama), the video was posted on Islamist Internet forums in recent days and is presented as a "gift to the lions of Tawheed (belief in the oneness of Allah) and the Muslims everywhere."
Shebab fighters on Monday distributed the video in several Mogadishu neighbourhoods, including in Suqaholaha, where a public screening was also organised following the Eid paryers.
The video kicks off with an artistic animation of whirling flower tendrils and text in English and Arabic paying tribute to the mujahideen (holy warriors) in Palestine and the Arabian peninsula, as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The slick video production marks a new level in the propaganda capabilities of the Shebab and is reminiscent of the videos made by As-Sahab — Al Qaeda’s media production company — on Iraq and Afghanistan.
The video is a sequence of fighting scenes in the streets of Mogadishu and elsewhere, training sessions and news commentary lambasting the president of Somalia’s transitional federal government, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
A Shebab official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the video was aimed at "persuading people to join the jihad and give youngsters a chance to see the real life of a mujahed (holy warrior)."