An entire faction called Hizbul Islam, has also split from the larger al-Shabaab and is likely to side with the Somali government.
The Somali capital of Mogadishu has witnessed an upsurge of terror attacks recently, challenging Somalia’s new administration.
The country’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has not been immune to the terror attacks as no more than 48 hours after taking office he survived an assassination attempt.
It was the start of what later escalated into uncontrollable chaos. Twin suicide attacks last Thursday targeting a restaurant frequented by journalists and politicians in central Mogadishu killed 22 including three journalists.
Twenty-four hours later a local radio reporter who commentated on the harrowing incident was gunned down just as he finished his show.
Another 24 hours after that incident, a member of the new Somali parliament was killed as he left a mosque after dusk prayers.
“I call upon the Somali public wherever they are to unite against this enemy that has unleashed terror upon innocent civilians, killing and maiming them,” said Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, the country’s acting prime minister.
Just as things seemed to be getting worse, a dramatic change of events occurred in Mogadishu as 250 al-Shabaab youth fighters along with their commander voluntarily surrendered to African Union and Somali forces just hours after the group claimed responsibility for the twin suicide blasts.
According to Abdisamed Mohamed Hassan, Somalia’s interior minister for national security, if the al-Shabaab fighters come back voluntarily they will be placed in factories where they will receive skills training as well as protection by the government. If they are captured, they will be passed on to the Justice Department and sent to jail.
Though the Somali government forces and African Union police troops had a few weeks earlier raided homes in a crackdown that saw the arrest of several al-Shabaab suspects, sporadic killings and attacks continue.