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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Robow, the Teacher Killer and Economic Expert

An Islamist guerrilla group in Somalia is responsible for the brutal slaying of four school instructors after fighters briefly seized a key town without bloodshed.

A spokesman for al Shabaab fighters, Muktar Robow "Abu Mansur," did not distance his armed group from killing the four civilians in Beletwein, a provincial capital near the Ethiopian border.

"Our fighters did not intentionally kill the teachers," Abu Mansur told the AP.

Al Shabaab guerrillas captured Beletwein after Hiran Governor Yusuf Daboged and regional security forces withdrew from the town Sunday night, locals said.

The governor was last reported to have safely reached the border village of Feer Feer, a key base for Ethiopian troops deployed in Somalia's central regions.

In Beletwein, the Islamist guerrillas seized control of all government buildings and burned the home of Governor Daboged, before withdrawing voluntarily.

The four teachers - two Kenyans and two British citizens of Somali origin - were killed outside of a private, English-language school.

But the al Shabaab spokesman was eager to distance his militant group from flyers spread throughout markets in the capital Mogadishu, threatening traders to lower the exchange rate or face death.

Abu Mansur said that al Shabaab is not responsible for those flyers, adding: "Soon, we will take steps against those groups [who spread the flyers]," he told Mogadishu-based radio stations Monday.

He blamed the governments of Somalia and Ethiopia for hyperinflation, which has severely devalued the Somali Shilling and contributed to rising market prices for common goods.

According to Abu Mansur, the Ethiopian government wants to eradicate the Somali Shilling and replace the country's currency with the Ethiopian birr.

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