Islamic Military Group Starts War of Words on Twitter

Militant Islamic group al-Shabab is taking its war virtual, setting up a Twitter account to disseminate statements, news and information about its ongoing battle with the Somali government.

"The Jihad being waged here in Somali shall continue until the country is purified of all invaders," reads a statement issued by military spokesman Sheikh Abu Mus'ab in a Tweet on Thursday.

The new Twitter account is called @HSMPress, for Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Press Office. It now has close to 1,200 followers and is an attempt to help spread the group's message and provide its vision of the armed struggle for control of Somalia, the International Business Times reported Friday.

The Twitter feed was started on Wednesday, Dec. 7, with the notice of a suicide bombing attack in Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab joins a growing number of political figures, military groups and countries acknowledging the trope that the pen is mightier than the sword.

North Korea joined Twitter in August of 2010, following a foray into video sharing on YouTube. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez is using Twitter as a tool to govern Venezuela while he undergoes cancer treatment in Cuba. And gay-rights activist Mariela Castro -- daughter of the Cuba president -- recently took to Twitter as well to discuss her work.

Al-Shabab has been using the social network to criticize the Kenyan government, IBN reported.

In the last months, Somalia's East African neighbor has become more involved in the fight against al-Shabab. Wednesday the Kenyan parliament voted to integrate some of its troops into the African Union forces in Somalia to support the transitional government.

Al-Shabab's first tweet was a Koranic phrase in Arabic, meaning "In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful."

For more information on al-Shabab and Twitter, see the full report at