They instead want the group to be called Ugus, an acronym for the Somali words meaning “the Group that Massacres the Somali People”.
Al-Shabab responded by saying the Somali government should be referred to by the same acronym, Ugus.
In this case, Ugus means “the Group that Subjects the Somali People to Humiliation”.
Al-Shabab, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, controls many rural parts of southern Somalia.
The head of Somalia’s Intelligence and Security Services Gen Abdirahman Mohamud Turyare told journalists that al-Shabab, which means the youth in Arabic, was “a good name”.
“We should not allow this good name to be dirtied. This enemy we are fighting is called Ugus.”
Gen Turyare was speaking at the headquarters of information ministry in front of journalists and information ministry officials.
However, no mention was made of the punishment for anyone who flouted the ban.
The government-controlled Radio Mogadishu and SNTV have already been using the term for a while.
Ugus is an acronym for Ururka Gumaadka Ummadda Soomaaliyeed.