Women in Al Shabaab continue to fall victim to the allures of the group as relates to their role in Jihad. For a while now, the Jihadist group has been recruiting and misusing women both for military and sexual gratification, all this while using the Quran to justify their wrongdoing. Women on the other hand continue to defy societal and religious norms to join terrorist groups.
Arming women with machine guns and circulating these photos on social media to symbolize women liberation has seen girls seek solace in ‘Jihad’ in what has been sold as a refuge for staunch Muslim girls. From experience, however, the same girls have narrated stories of victimization, rape and multiple horrors at the hands of the militants.
According to statements by returnees, washing bloody clothes, cooking, fetching firewood and water under heavy security was the order of the day. By night however, they would be divided and placed in different grass structures where militia and their commanders would cast lots for sexual favors. They were expected to handle up to five men in a night but this would depend on directives given by a ‘pimp’ within the camp masquerading as an imam.
“Women handling guns as seen on many Al Shabaab oriented sites was just a scam to lure unknowing girls.” Said Azziad, one of the returnees held at a Kenyan military camp for questioning.
The tide has however been changing over time as more and more women find out the bitter truth about these terror organizations. There have been defections by women who say they have realised the lie that was sold by Al Shabaab and are urging other women to steer away from the terror groups.
Kenyan security forces continue to offer amnesty for these returning souls with an option of rehabilitation.