Al-Shabaab uses women as spies in Coast region

Details have emerged on Al-Shabaab’s new tactics to attack security camps in areas earmarked for the ongoing multi-agency security operation dubbed ‘Linda Boni’ in Lamu, Tana River and Garissa counties.

The operation was launched in 2015 to flush out Al-Shabaab terrorists from Boni forest and neighbouring areas.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation, security officers manning the area said the terrorists were using women as spies in areas targeted in the operation.

Those who spoke to the Nation in Galmaghala, Ijara, Bodhei, Milimani, Basuba, Mararani, Ishakani and Kiunga villages said they had been forced to send the women out of some villages after discovering they were sent as spies and to plan attacks.

“We are extra cautious nowadays. We have on several occasions chased away very beautiful women whom we suspect of being spies of Al-Shabaab.

“They always target villages that closely border our camps. They have tried establishing a close relationship with us while others are even willing to become lovers of some officers,” said a GSU officer who requested anonymity.

He added: “We, however, became suspicious of them since any time the women are seen, barely two days would go by before we are attacked by Al-Shabaab.

“We have decided not to entertain them any more. We suspect they are agents sent to try and confuse us and get information.”

Source: Daily Nation


Convicted Al-Shabaab Terrorist Rearrested in Texas for ISIS Support and Sharing Bomb-Making Instructions With Inmates

Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, a 43-year-old Eritrean man sentenced to federal prison in 2013 for traveling to Somalia and fighting for Al-Shabaab, was rearrested earlier this week. At the time, he was being released from prison on charges of supporting ISIS.

That’s when new charges of attempting to provide services and support to ISIS were unsealed, according to The Examiner.

The assistant U.S. attorney for Eastern Texas asked a local court to continue to hold Ahmed upon his release from federal custody on Monday, and asked that he be held without bail by U.S. Marshals as he is a flight risk, according to the report.

The new charges include material support for terrorism and lying to investigators.

Ahmed was sentenced to 111 months in prison in March 2013 for providing material support to Al-Shabaab, the Somali terror group, and for receiving terror training from the same. He had left Sweden, where he was a legal resident, and traveled to Somalia in April 2009 to join Al-Shabaab.

According to the earlier indictment, Ahmed gave Al-Shabaab officials money, purchased weapons, and received training on making bombs. Federal prosecutors said that — while at a terror training camp near Barawa, Somalia — Ahmed was given instructions on “the preparation and/or assembly of: silver fulminate; urea nitrate; ammonium nitrate; acetone peroxide; a TNT oxidation mechanism in a nitric-sulfuric acid mixture; a bomb detonator; and different types of bomb fuses.”

Among the new charges against Ahmed is that he passed along this knowledge to other inmates. Also, Ahmed lied to investigators about the extent of his knowledge, despite the findings regarding his bomb-making skills from the earlier case.

Ahmed was captured in Nigeria in November 2009, and brought to the U.S. for trial in March 2010. At the time of his arrest, he had documents detailing bomb-making instructions.

According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release at the time of his March 2013 sentencing, Ahmed was supposed to be deported after the conclusion of his prison term.

At his sentencing Ahmed said that he had no animosity for the United States, the New York Times reported. His attorneys filed a memorandum with the court claiming that, “[f]or Mr. Ahmed, the fight is over. He poses no threat to society, and will not re-offend.”

That apparently was not the case.

A hearing on the new charges was scheduled to occur later this week.

Source: PJ Media

Shocking details of how 5 Kenyans were sold as slaves in Libya

African migrants at a safe house in Bani Walid, Libya on December 12. For migrants who escape torture and starvation at the hands of trackers, the safe house offers them shelter and medical care.
An intelligence report seen exclusively by the Saturday Standard details the sordid journey of five Kenyans from the relative calmness of their homes to the rough and tumble world of the Libyan slave market where, together with thousands of other African immigrants, they were sold to the highest bidder.
The five, through an elaborate trafficking route set out and charted by one of Libya’s most notorious and feared smuggling groups, the Magafe Network, left Nairobi and embarked on a journey that would change their lives forever. The ended up on the dusty, windy Libyan desert where they were sold for next to nothing, leaving their families in turmoil and concern.
“The Magafe Network lures unsuspecting and naïve youth under the pretext of offering employment and money while others are enticed by the Jihad narrative and the fight for a Muslim caliphate,” the report reads. “Once they successfully have the gullible candidates, they link them up with the Kenyan associates of the Magafe Syndicate based in Eastleigh who would later transport them through their various routes to Libya.”
The five, excited by the promise of thrill, monetary gains, a life of freedom and relative abandon as members of terror group ISIS, left Nairobi through one of the most common and most profitable trafficking routes for recruiters.
With the allure of a renegade life beckoning, they left Nairobi and headed to Busia by road. They then crossed over to Uganda and made their way to Kampala before snaking into Juba in war-torn South Sudan. Their next destination was Khartoum before eventually making it to Libya.
However, the promises of the life they envisioned was not to come. The harsh Libyan climate and an arduous training regime by the terror group saw them lose favour in the eyes of their would-be employers.
“They were found to be no longer useful to the terror group and eventually sold off in the slave markets,” the intelligence report says. “It is believed that the fallout was not only as result of the Kenyans not being able to easily adapt to the harsh weather conditions but also from the fact that some of them wanted out.”
Once one joins the groups, they cannot leave voluntarily.
The Libyan slave markets have been described as some sort of vortex, where time moves backwards to the days of slavery when grown men and women were hawked to the highest bidders.
Forced to pay a ransom
Each year, tens of thousands of people pour across Libya’s borders, fleeing conflict in the rest of the continent or trying to outrun poverty; nursing dreams of a better life in different corners of Europe.
Many get to Libya with nothing other than a little money to pay for a ride on a crowded and overloaded boat to the shores of Europe. Some make it, many don’t and many more are gobbled up by a sea with little sympathy to their ambitions.
However, a recent clampdown by the Libyan coastguard following pressure from European states such as Italy and Greece, has meant that fewer boats make it out to sea, leaving behind boatloads of hungry, poor and homeless would-be immigrants at the mercy of treacherous smugglers-turned-slave- dealers.
Unlike the five Kenyans who didn’t make it out of the market and have been sold to unknown buyers, Elizabeth Akinyi made it out and is now back home, albeit with the scars, emotional and physical, that would always remind her of the ordeals.
At 29, she left her home in Kisumu in search of greener pastures in neighbouring South Sudan. However, after the world’s youngest state collapsed into a civil war, she took up an offer from an Egyptian acquaintance she had met in Juba. The deal on the table was for Elizabeth to get to Cairo and work as a house help.
She was taken to her host family and was told not to be inquisitive.
“I got scared when I heard that several other girls had been mistreated and died, so the lady’s last born girl advised me to be submissive if I had to survive. It was the best I could do since I had no access to the outside world via any form of communication,” she said.
One day, her little understanding of Arabic enabled her to grasp the gist of a discussion between her boss and a third party.
“The clients were probably inquiring about my general health, and I heard my boss say she would feed me well for another few months so that I could fetch ‘good money’,” Elizabeth said.
The going price for a slave in the markets is anything between Sh40,000 and Sh50,000. Sometimes, reports say, those bought can provide labour for whole neighbourhoods with little or no food. When they are weak, they are moved on to another buyer at a cheaper price or left to die.
Many, like Elizabeth will remain haunted for their lifetimes. Some of those who manage to escape are forced to pay a ransom to be released. A ransom that often does not guarantee them safe passage back home.
Men are forced to leave their wives, and mothers to bury their new-born children. Rights groups say captors are more violent towards darker-skinned migrants.
Reports from International Organisation for Migration as well as several UN agencies say that pregnant women and young, energetic men fetched the best of prices in the slave markets.
The report of the five Kenyans confirms allegations of Kenyans being sold in Libya that were made made in August this year by a different group of three Kenyan girls who were rescued from the streets in Cairo after escaping from their captors in Libya.
Firthoza Ali Ahmed, Aisha Mafudh Ashur and Tawfiqa Dahir Adan had been smuggled out of Nairobi through the same route as the five men.
The three girls were highly malnourished and had gone through continuous sexual and physical abuse from the militants.
They were lucky to get out unlike many other Kenyans in ISIS who are now being auctioned the in slave trade.
In March 2017, two Kenyan fugitive doctors were killed in a US airstrike in Libya.
Farah Dagane Hassan, 26, and Hish Ahmed Ali, 25 formerly of Kitale District hospital had fled the country to join ISIS and had been treating the militants until they were killed in an offensive against the Islamic State.
Despite the global condemnation of the ongoing slave trade in Libya, it has not ended.
Many countries have sought interventions to bring to an end to the migration of Africans to Europe through Libya as thousands of immigrants die in the ocean when overloaded boats capsize on the way to Spain.
Source: The Standard

Somali Forces Drive Al-Shabaab Out of Fresh Areas in Gedo

Somalia security forces have captured several rural areas in Somalia’s southwestern Gedo region from Al-Shabaab, an official said Monday.

“The government troops retook locations between Garbaharey and Bardere and are now in full control,” Abdi Ali Mohamed, a Somali military official in the region, told Radio Shabelle.

Al Shabaab has not released a statement regarding the military claim.

Mohamed said the capture followed an operation by the security forces, noting there was no resistance as Al-Shabaab militants vacated the area following reports of troops’ movement.

The move came ahead of an expected military offensive against Al Shabaab that was announced by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed after Oct 14 truck bombing in Mogadishu which left 512 people dead.

The attack was the deadliest ever single day tragedy in Somalia’s history.

Source: AllAfrica

Al-Shabaab Top Leader Ahmed Dirie Hides In Gedo Region, Source Say

Somali terrorist group Al-shabaab along with their top leaders are believed to be on run from their hideouts in southern Somalia, as large military operations against the militants continue across the country, by Somalia National Army backed by AMISOM and international partners. Mr. Ahmed Dirie, the leader of Al-Shabaab is said to be hiding in part of Gedo region Southern Somalia, after he fled from Al-Shabaab controlling district of Jilib in Lower Jubba, whereby Somalia’s international partners bombarded several times, killing scores of militants.

Gen. Ismail Sahardiid, the commander of Sector 43 of the the Somalia National Armed Forces in Gedo region told SONNA News Agency, that Al-Shabaab top leader and militias loyal to him fled to Gedo region, where Somalia Military Forces are currently searching for them. Sources say, that there is a new conflict between Mr. Ahmed Dirie, the leader of Al-Shabaab and his deputy Mr. Fidow, who is in charge of financial and administration for the group.

Mr. Fidow has influential power in the militant, that is the reason behind the attempt to eliminate Mr. Ahmed Dirie, who is reported to have fled to Gedo Region,” Gen. Ismail Added. The increasing air strikes against Al-Shabaab hideouts caused fear and suspicion between the group’s top officers, ever since many officials of Al-Shabaab defected to the Federal Government of Somalia, while some others have been beheaded by the group as the result of mistrust between them.


How drones could be game-changer in Somalia’s fight against al-Shabab

A former member of U.S. military intelligence is helping fight one of the deadliest terror groups in Africa. He is also a pioneer in the U.S. military’s use of drones and is now using that expertise to help Somalia in its fight against the Al-Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabab.

The threat of unpredictable violence is ever-present in Somalia. Al-Shabab’s reach is vast and it is one of the most organized and dangerous of Africa’s militant groups, reports CBS News correspondent Debora Patta.

Al-Shabab no longer controls the crumbling city of Mogadishu, but has still been able to wreak havoc with its relentless bombing campaigns. Their weapon of choice has been the vehicle bomb, like the one used with devastating effect on October 14 killing over 500 people in the capital.

CBS News has been told repeatedly that al-Shabab has eyes and ears everywhere. The group’s members blend easily into local communities, and a seemingly quiet road may not look very menacing but can turn nasty in an instant.

Former U.S. military intelligence officer Brett Velicovich wants to change that. He has donated commercial drones to the Somali police force and is training them to use the technology to combat al-Shabab.

“When they go into different areas to clear parts that are under Shabab control, they will actually fly those drones low and in front of them to look out for roadside bombs,” Velicovich said.

Another al-Shabab tactic is to plant one bomb then, as first responders arrive, detonate another, killing everyone who rushed to help.

“The investigators will actually go out and they’ll fly our drones and they’ll make sure that the area is safe for first responders to come into,” Velicovich said.

Somali intelligence has told us that al-Shabaab continues to practice its bomb-making skills over and over until they get it right.

Al-Shabab footage shows how they test one of their bombs on an African peacekeeping convoy. Drone technology could help thwart attacks like these.

“It significantly alters the way they can do counter-terrorism work?” Patta asked.

“Exactly. I mean, imagine walking into a situation where you don’t know if the people in the house or the compound have weapons or if they have explosives, but if you could see from the air what you are about to walk into, that changes the game,” Velicovich said.

Al-Shabab’s bombs are increasingly more complex and more powerful. Simple drone technology could provide a much needed boost for the over-worked, under-resourced Somali counter-terrorism units.

Source:CBS News

Al-Shabaab Militants Surrender in Southwestern Somalia

Six Al-Shabaab militants on Thursday surrendered to Somali forces following an increasing assault by the militants in southern regions of the country.

Al-Shabaab militants and their top officials are on the run from their hideouts after Somali National Army (SNA) backed by African Union peacekeeping forces and international partners have intensified the military operations against the group.

The militants, who were armed, surrendered to Somali national army and state forces in Dinsor district in Somalia’s Bay region, which is located in the south west of the country.

“The six armed militants had weapons and one technical. They had traveled from Arabow where Al-Shabaab militants are hiding themselves,” Dinsor Commissioner Ibrahim Mohamed Shigshigow told media.

Somali forces backed by African Union troops have been conducting operations in Lower Shabelle region pushing the militants from their main strongholds.

Source: AllAfrica