Kenyan militants in Alshabaab are in limbo after becoming frustrated by their administration because of the execution of their fellow countrymen and being sidelined in lucrative missions.
According to a Kenyan source -who cannot be mentioned for security reasons, Kenyans in Alshabaab are torn between surrendering to the Kenyan government and face prosecution or cross over to Puntland to join ISIS.
For every successful attack against Alshabaab or any foiled attack, there are orders to retaliate either against civilians or fighters within their ranks. Since January there have been over 30 successful attacks against Alshabaab and over 20 foiled major terrorist attacks within Somalia and Kenya. These failures have left the Somali-based militia frustrated hence public executions of both civilians and their fighters suspected of spying.
According to the source, Kenyans are the hardest hit by the executions. “Many attacks against Alshabaab are done by both the US and Kenyan militaries, there are no Americans in Alshabaab so every attack that happens, Kenyans are paraded and executed in public” narrated the source. The source said that loyalty of Kenyans has drastically shifted and most of them just want to leave, it does not matter to where.
The only options they have are either to surrender to the Kenyan government or join a rival terrorist outfit; ISIS faction based in Puntland. “The Kenyans would rather surrender to the government and face prosecution than face execution and humiliation in a foreign land,” the source said, “ the other alternative is to join ISIS in Puntland, which is tricky because they are not sure of how they will be received.”
As Alshabaab is currently struggling to survive, it is clear that Kenyans are unhappy and want to leave. It is not a coincidence that this is happening after the killing of Ahmed Iman Ali- an influential Kenyan Alshabaab recruiter and a propagandist. Together with other commanders, Ahmed was killed by an aerial attack by US military in Bu’uale in March.