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Sudan arrests Somali Islamist leader while trying to escape to Eritrea

March 13, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese security services arrested a Somali Islamist leader while he was attempting to cross border to Eritrea, a Somali outlet reported today from Mogadishu.

Muse Abdi Arale, the secretary for defence of Hizbul Islam group has been arrested in Sudan while trying to enter in Eritrea with money embezzled from the rebel group.

Sheikh Hassan Mahdi, a senior official from Hizbul Islam told Mareeg Online that the Sudanese police arrested Arale while he was trying to cross the eastern Sudan border and reach Eritrea.

Muse Arale embezzled the money from the group and travelled from Mogadishu by car to Kenya from where he entered south Sudan and then reached Khartoum secretly.

Led by Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, Hizbul Islam is facing a leadership crisis inside since the defection of Sheikh Hassan Abdulahi Al-Turki, a notorious Islamist guerrilla leader to Al-Shebab early this year.

Last week, a senior insurgent leader from Hizbul Islam, Bare Ali Bar, has been shot to death in Mogadishu at Bakara market which is a stronghold of Al-Shebab rebels.

The gunmen shot the Hizbul Islam military leader several times in the head and escaped on foot. No one has yet claimed responsibility. But Somali say Bare was an outspoken critic to the Al-Shebab, a former ally of Hizbul Islam.

Formed by four groups to fight the UN backed government of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Hizub Islam is witnessing power struggle and divisions since last year.

(ST)