Shaken and distraught, Ambiyo had no choice but to follow commands. He realised it was not the white collar job he had expected neither was there school to attend. This was the infamous blood-thirsty Al Shabaab he had only watched on television.
Fast forward, six months would pass in the harsh camps of Somalia and now Ambiyo was an Islam convert and foot soldier in the Al Shabaab. According to tradition, it was time for these two recruits to show value to the group and the mission was a suicide bombing attack on Kenya.
“I could not imagine unleashing an attack on my homeland, my people and the only place I belonged.” Said Ambiyo
His thoughts were contrary to those of his friends who were excited to execute what they termed as ‘jihad’. They had over time been brainwashed and made to believe they were rightfully practicing religion.
Ambiyo would scribble down a plan to escape this nightmare but had no support from his accomplices, in fact, they threatened to tell on him and have him beheaded like other Kenyans who had resisted.
On the day of the attack, Ambiyo silently hoped for a foiled attack. The attack was on a mostly Christian village in Garissa and the church was the main target. “ I remember seeing the Kenyan officers and wishing I had the opportunity to inform them what was about to happen. The group commanders did not move their eyes off us. They were intimidating and threatening at the same time.”
The 19year old had pocketed a small piece of paper on which he had written his exit plan. “ I remember gently dropping the paper through the window when the commanders were not looking, only hoping the officers would see it.”
Now en route Garissa, Ambiyo was beginning to lose hope as they approached a checkpoint that had no sign of guard. Within a split second, military officers ambushed their van and commanded them to stop, already shooting at the tyres.
“On seeing this, the Al Shabaab commander in the van began shooting us and I remember seeing one of my friends drop dead and I knew I wouldn’t be spared. I knew the officers had gotten wind of the plan or they had actually seen my small note.”
Ambiyo jumped off the moving van hitting the ground as a barrage of bullets followed him…the teenager would end up in the county hospital with severe injuries and under the police custody. A journey that all began on Facebook.