In a defiant message released to Somali media on February 13, the radical Islamist insurgency Al Shabaab vowed to fight the newly elected president of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, calling him an “apostate.”
Al Shabaab said that Farmaajo—whose nickname, which he goes by, is an approximation of the Italian word for “cheese”—is an American and Western puppet. The message also claimed that Farmaajo is not popular with the Somali people, saying there was no celebrations in Kismayo among those loyal to Ahmed Madoobe or in the north of the country. For those who did celebrate, the Shabaab speaker claimed that they were either paid or were celebrating the demise of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who the speaker described as a butcherer of the Somali people and also a foreign puppet.
The message called upon Farmaajo to “repent to god” and vowed that if he did not, their fighters would destroy him saying, “we know how to eat cheese.”
The speaker in the video, which we have posed below, is Hassan Yacuub, commander of Al Shabaab’s forces in the Galgaduud region.