Following the continued lack of funds in the Al Shabaab, the militants have now turned to extorting residents of Somalia.
The group has imposed the illegal levies on the starving communities in the name of Sharia law under which Zakat, usually an annual offering of a certain percentage from an individual’s wealth. The residents are now up in arms protesting against the extortion that they say has nothing to do with religion (Zakat) instead it is harassment on the residents.
The locals say that the militants have gone to an extent to beheading defaulters and even arresting children and women from households that do not comply.
Residents in small villages near Bal’ad town, some 30km north of Mogadishu are now threatening to take matters into their hands if the authorities do not come to their rescue. “We are facing financial pressures and an apparent crisis of morale after an order by Al Shabaab group,” said a local who asked to be anonymous
In March, a senior Al Shabaab commander, in charge of Zakat collections in Hiiraan region was killed in an operation conducted by Somali forces backed African Union troops in central Somalia’s Hiiran region.
The Al Qaeda allied group has also lost territorial presence in most regions hence translating to lack of funds and monetary ability.