There was drama in Jilib town and selected parts of Somalia as Al Shabaab militants went up in arms in protest against Al Shabaab’s leadership. The militants protested across cities accusing their leadership of the most corrupt in the history of corruption. Media reports indicate that the militants have been on cold strike for quite some times now before reaching the boiling point. Speaking to one of the middle commanders of the rag-tag militia group, seeking anonymity due to security reasons, he confirmed that there was rampant corruption right from the top cream leadership to the lowest ranked foot soldiers, he was however quick to add that the top management was working on cleaning out the group.
There have been allegations that top commanders accrue lots of funds by imposing taxes to the locals and engaging in illegal businesses like sale of charcoal, human trafficking, and kidnappings. The funds are meant to run the operations of the group like paying militias their monthly salaries, proving them with food and taking care of all the operational logistics; an agenda that only remains on the paper but not practically. The top commanders are said to be using the funds in living large, with their families residing overseas as their children go in very prestigious schools and universities abroad. Their children are said to be driving top class vehicles in the USA, the UK among other world-class cities.
Tired of seeing their leaders balling and living fancy lives while they languish in abject poverty, the militants decided to go on a cold strike to see if action will be taken by the concerned parties, but their efforts fell on deaf ears. It is then that they decided to go on the rampage and protested against their leaders. Al Shabaab’s spokesperson Sheikh Ali Dere assured the militants that all was fine and their grievances were being addressed.
With the protests, Al Shabaab’s future remains with lots of uncertainty considering the internal fights they have always had concerning leadership and clannism. If the foot soldiers join in the fights it means there will be a lot of integration which will destabilize the already susceptible group.