22 al shabaab militants on Wednesday surrendered to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in Boni forest. The militants who are said to have returned from Somalia are in the custody of KDF. Reports from news agencies indicate that the Al Shabaab militants were from the Jaysh al-Ayman faction, an al-Shabaab unit formed about five years ago to carry out attacks inside Kenya specifically in the coastal regions. The faction terrorizes villages and towns and targets the police, the military, and other government institutions.
Those who surrendered said they did so because of the death of their founder Ahmed Iman Ali. One of the returnees, James Ahmed Abdi from Lamu told security agents that the death of Ahmed Iman was the main reason for their defection. In addition, poor living conditions, mistreatment by indigenous Somalis within al shabaab ranks and lack of salaries also played a role in their decision to surrender.
Ahmed Iman Ali was among 40 members of the al shabaab militia group who were killed by an airstrike in Buaale town, Somalia on March 22, 2019. The death of Iman Ali has dealt a significant blow to the terrorist group and its grassroots cells. Since 2012, Ahmed Iman was the face of the terror group’s jihadist recruitment, expansion, and media strategy. He was behind the establishment of terror cells in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Burundi, and DR Congo.
“The conditions we have been living in are miserable and no one no longer wants to stay in such an environment,” James said. He told security agents that he was recruited into Al Shabaab by his friend from Kwale County after the death of his mother in 2016.
James and the other 21 militants who surrendered to the KDF troops are currently undergoing interrogations and will be later taken to rehabilitation centres for psychological support before they are re-integrated into the society.