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After Taliban, al-Shabaab logs on to twitter

Press Trust of India
Dec 09, 2011 at 05:59pm IST

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London: After Taliban in Afghanistan, an Islamic terrorist group has opened a Twitter account as it bids to win a PR war in the bloody battle for control of Somalia.

Al-Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda, registered the account @HSMPress on September 16 but only delivered its first tweet on Thursday, The Daily Mail reported on Friday.

The name of the account gives some idea of why it has been created; the initials stands for Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Press Office.

After Taliban, al-Shabaab logs on to twitter

Al-Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda, registered the account under the name @HSMPress on Thursday.

They currently have 1010 followers but follow none. The Taliban too had opened a twitter account to espouse its view in just 140 characters.

In September, as the guns fell silent in Afghan capital Kabul after a 20-hour stand-off between NATO forces and Taliban, the two sides had began another battle: on Twitter.

Both sides exchanged a series of tweets against each other before they fell silent. @HSMPress has posted 24 tweets till now.

The move onto Twitter could be seen as an attempt to counter the widespread message of Kenya's military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir, who uses his own Twitter account to highlight the government forces' success in battling al-Shabaab to his 10,000 followers, the UK daily reported.

Al-Shabaab wants to overthrow the Somali government and controls large swathes of the country's southern territory, where it is believed to have imposed its own strict form of Sharia law.

The terror group has claimed responsibility for the July 2010 attacks on Kampala in which 74 people died and is accused of launching terrorist attacks on Mogadishu over two days in August 2010 which killed more than 300 people.

The group has also claimed responsibility for an attack on October 4 this year in which a truck filled with explosive was driven into a Somali government ministry, killing 139 and injuring 93, the daily said.

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