Early this month, the Somali-based terrorist group Alshabaab shocked many when they launched ‘highly-trained’ unit to fight malaria in Lower Shabelle. The anti-malaria unit was launched days after Alshabaab held a football match with locals. It was done with a cover of helping locals to fight and treat malaria. The initiative was meant to salvage dwindling support from locals.
Following the continuous bombardment of Alshabaab territories by AMISOM, KDF and the US, the Somali-based terror outfit has lost grip of key areas in Somalia. Fearing for their lives, some Alshabaab commanders have surrendered to the Somali government, which has left foreign fighters stranded in their camps.
The reduction in numbers in the rank and file of the terrorist outfit has forced them to rethink a strategy of how to replenish the numbers. According to an insider, one of the ways to fill the gaps left by the defecting troops is to recruit underage boys. However, this was not to be easy, as many of the boys recruited last year were suffering from malaria. Most of them died before the completion of the training. To avert such incidents, it was agreed that they conduct an anti-malaria campaign where they will test and give drugs to victims while in reality, they wanted to recruit malaria-free boys.
What looks like a noble campaign to the local, is actually a recruitment exercise meant to get healthy and malaria-free recruits. Unknown to the locals is where the ‘highly-trained’ unit was trained. The insider also revealed that the Cuban doctors who were abducted in April had been forced to train some militants on how to test and treat malaria.