Somalia's al-Shabaab back on Twitter after suspension

Tuesday 05 February 2013 23.29
Al Shabaab wants to impose its strict version of sharia, or Islamic law, across Somalia
Al Shabaab wants to impose its strict version of sharia, or Islamic law, across Somalia

Somalia's Islamist al-Shabaab militants, who have used Twitter to announce assassinations and bombings, are back on the microblog service two weeks after their account was suspended.

Al Shabaab's previous official Twitter account was suspended around January 24, days after group, which is aligned with al- Qaeda, used the site to threaten to kill two Kenyan hostages.

The group tweeted a link to a video of the abducted civil servants and threatened to kill them unless the Kenyan government released all Muslim prisoners in its jails.

Twitter rules say threats of violence are forbidden but the site declined at the time to comment on why al-Shabaab's account, which had thousands of followers, had been suspended.

Al Shabaab's Somali and Arabic-language Twitter accounts were never closed.

The new account, using the handle @HSMPRESS1, has attracted over 1,100 followers within two days.

Al Shabaab wants to impose its strict version of sharia, or Islamic law, across Somalia.

However, it has lost significant territory in the southern and central parts of the country in the face of an offensive by African Union troops.

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