More than 200 former Al Shabaab members were received in July 2018, North Eastern Regional Coordinator Mohamed Birik has confirmed. While receiving the last bunch of 32 returnees in his office in Garissa presented to him by Wabera West Chief Yussuf Ali, Birik pointed out that this was the biggest number of Al Shabaab returnees in a single month. He added that the increased numbers is attributed to the government’s effort to offer amnesty to those who are willing to come back home and get involved in national building.
In an exclusive interview with Epuka News, most of the returnees cited betrayal by Al Shabaab as one of the main reasons for their decision to come back home. “It is completely a contrast of our expectations in Somalia! What we were promised while here (Kenya) is not what we found there (Somalia)!” Laments Lawrence Washiali A.K.A Isack Mohamed from Mumias. Lawrence adds that after being converted to Islam by his girlfriend of 3 years, he was promised good life by a Sheikh who sent him to Somalia for a ‘well paying military job’, only to suffer in the hands of the militias.
Others reported that they were on death row after being suspected of being moles working for AMISOM and the CIA. They witnessed their own being executed after which they masterminded an escape plan.
Aisha Noor amidst sobs narrates how she was converted into a sex slave where she could serve up to 5 men in a day. “First they would administer sex enhancing drugs, after which the militants would jump on us one after the other.” She adds. She has painfully undergone more than 6 abortions while in the hands of Al Shabaab. “I saw some of my friends bled to death while undergoing the process. Luckily, a friend of mine helped me to escape at night.” She concludes.
Chief Yussuf confirmed that they had received more than 20 assorted rifles and several rounds of ammunition surrendered by some of the returnees that are now in government possession.
Birik said that more returnees are expected to surrender before the end of the year. He said those who had surrendered would be taken to different rehabilitation facilities after which the government will absorb them into employment opportunities.