Skip to main content

Somali Islamists parade new forces in capital

From Mohamed Amiin Adow, For CNN
  • The Al-Shabaab forces "will break the enemy's back," a spokesman declares
  • The unit is named in honor of an al Qaeda leader killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike
  • Al-Shabaab claims it has captured American weapons from Somali government forces

(CNN) -- The militant Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab paraded newly trained fighters in the capital, Mogadishu, on Thursday, the Somali radio station Shabelle reported.

"These forces are our reserve and they will break the enemy's back," said Sheikh Ali Mohamud Ali Dhere, a spokesman for Al-Shabaab.

Top commanders of the group addressed the new fighters at the Maslah compound in northeast Mogadishu.

The spokesman said that the new unit is named after Sheikh Mustafa Abu Yazid, a member of al Qaeda killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan this year.

Abu Yazid was an Egyptian and was killed in Pakistan in May.

"Sheikh Mustafa Abu Yaziid, God bless him, if the U.S. killed him with a missile, we are saying to the U.S., these are the students of Shiekh Mustafa and are ready to revenge his death," said Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, Al-Shabaab's No. 2 leader, who also spoke at the parade.

Abu Mansur claimed that the newly trained members of Al-Shabaab are armed with weapons that the U.S. initially supplied to Somali government forces but were captured by the Islamists.

CNN has not been able to verify the claim.

"The U.S. is defeated. Thanks to Allah, we are fighting the U.S. with the same weapons they bought to fight us," said Abu Mansur.

CNN's Joyce Joseph contributed to this report.