Recent times have not been rosy at the al shabaab headquarter with disunity and mistrust within the ranks rising to levels never seen. A source confirms that the commanders are sparing no efforts and resources in attempts to reconcile the different rising factions within al shabaab. Insensitively some of these efforts have led to the execution of several of the militants who were accused of disloyalty.
Currently, the biggest threat to the militants’ leadership is the increasing influence of ISIS within the group. The leadership is wary of the influence that ISIS is having in the group causing rifts and undermining their authority. The death of Kenyan born militant Ahmed Iman in March this year is also a contributing factor towards the discord within the group as some members strongly believe that his killing was a set-up from some of the leaders following his increased popularity within the group.
The source further confirmed of a reconciliation meeting planned by the al shabaab leadership. Allegedly this meeting is among the many attempts to try and resolve disputes and divisions within the group and is expected that all commanders from Gedo Region will be in attendance. The meeting is also aimed at trying to dispel fears that the Somali al shabaab leadership would join the government and hand over foreign fighters from Europe, the Middle East and East Africa to government forces.
Security experts analyse that the presence of ISIS and its perceived influence over the group is a contributing factor within the group, however they add that the numerous recent defections by the top and middle-level leadership should be the bigger concern for the group. Al shabaab has suffered several defections especially in 2019, with many of their members surrendering themselves to the Somali Government including Ahmed Yusuf Adow, Aden Mohamed also known as ‘Aden Obe’ and Food Aden Mohamoud who was a ruthless al shabaab tax collector.
Among the persons expected to attend the meeting include Abdiaziz Abu Musaab and Mahat Karate-the current deputy leader of the al shabaab.
Recently, Mahat Karate has been releasing video and audio on behalf of the terrorist outfit, which according to security analysts, is as a move to show his future intentions to take al shabaab leadership. Sources say that he is the most prominent leader among al shabaab younger fighters and recruits, hence his physical presence expected in Gedo meeting.