What Al-Shabaab Looks Like on its death bed

Al-Shabaab militia group is at its weakest point. It has been weakened financially, militarily and politically in recent days. Somali’s harsh climatically conditions and the country’s devastating drought has forced Al Shabaab militants to live on strained finances as funders continue to disown the militia group. This is because many local communities now lack the resources to meet the militant group’s tax demands.

They have been put on the back foot following the stepped-up tempo by AMISOM and international communities on ground operations conducted in conjunction with Somali government troops.

Somali people no longer have faith in Al-Shabaab. They no longer enjoy political support from these people especially because of the bombing in Somalia that killed hundreds of civilians. This does more damage to their reputation than anything else. They don’t even want to be protected by them. They claim that the so called protection comes with a hefty cost.

Al-Shabaab is also facing another challenge of drawing new recruits. Youths in Somalia have become aware of the misuse and ill-treatment one goes through in the hands of the militia once he joins. They are no longer falling into the enticing tactics the Al-Shabaab used to entice youths with. Youths have become aware that there is no “money-factor” as Al-Shabaab claims. Their number has drastically reduced to an extent that they are actually abducting children from communities that are unable to make protection payments.

They coaxed the locals by telling them that if they can’t give them resources, then they should give them their kids.

The defections from the terror group are also posing a threat to its diminishing. Of late, there have been mass defections from the group. The Somali government is helping those who are voluntarily leaving the group to integrate with the society. The Kenyan government is also playing a key role into this.


Al Shabaab Forces Female Genital Mutilation On Young Girl

Over the past few months many young girls have come out to share their experiences of kidnap and rape under the hands on the Al Shabaab. Recently a young girl from Hoosingo who attended the free medical camp offered by Kenyan troops, revealed that she was held captive for one week and raped by the terrorists.

The 10 year old girl who was accompanied by her mother told medical personnel at the camp that the day before she was released her genitals were forcefully mutilated.  After examination, doctors discovered that this procedure involved total removal of her labia and clitoris and the girl had experienced severe bleeding and had contracted an infection.

Islamic scholars have come out strongly to oppose the notion that Islam supports Female Genital Mutilation. Led by the deputy Chief Kadhi Rashid Ali Omar, the scholars said that people mostly mistake the cultural practices of the pastoralist communities who are mostly Muslim and assume the practice of FGM is in Islamic law. “From the Islamic Law there is nothing called FGM and it prohibits the mutilation of any organ of a person and even of an animal,” Omar said

Police Officers In Foiled Terror Attack Awarded For Exemplary Work

29 officers who participated in interception of a powerful Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) in Merti, Isiolo have been rewarded for exemplary work. The VBIED and other explosives were to be used in attacking a court, Parliament and a church in simultaneous incidents.

The suspects behind the incident had driven with the bombs from Somalia and planned to attack government buildings and release a terror suspect currently facing various charges.

The suspect they planned to free is a Muslim cleric Sheikh Guyo Gorsa who is currently in custody over various terror related charges. Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet flew to Merti on Saturday and announced the team would receive the Distinguished Service Award that is given to officers who excel within the National Police Service. “I came here to commend all the officers who participated in the operation that led to the interception of the vehicle that could have caused huge destruction and deaths,” said Boinnet.

Some 1,199 bullets, 36 unprimed hand grenades, 18 Improvised Explosive Devices and five AK 47 rifles were recovered from an SUV and four other suspects are in custody from the sting operation on February 15, 2018. There were also three military knives in the vehicle that the terrorists planned to use in their attacks.

Police also recovered several SIM cards and mobile phones, a black flag and other paraphernalia associated with Al-Shabaab militia groups, motorcycle and ignition keys from the suspects. The recovery took place in a remote area, almost 200 kilometers from Isiolo Town.

The VBIED had been built into the car and were ready for detonation. Five suspects accused of planning to bomb a court to rescue the radical cleric have been charged with terrorism-related offences. Abdimajit Adan, Mohammed Nane, John Maina, Antony Kitila alias Rasta, and Lydia Nyawira denied nine counts of terrorism charges.

According to the investigators, the accused were arrested on February 15, 2018, while on a mission to attack the Milimani Law Courts on February 16, the day Muslim cleric Guyo Gorsa was scheduled to be arraigned to take a plea — also on terrorism-related charges. The five were charged that on February 15, within and outside the Republic of Kenya and jointly with others not before court, conspired to carry out a terrorist attack.


Anthony Mbele Munyasya on the run after foiled Al Shabaab attack

Al Shabaab terrororist and habitual offender, Anthony Mbele Munyasya alias Abdalla, who had sneaked into the country for a planned attack, is on the run, police have said. The highly trained operative is armed and dangerous; police are urging anyone with information that could lead to his arrest to report it to the nearest station.

Abdalla, who is from Kitui County, has reportedly been fighting alongside the Al Shabaab in Somalia since 2014. According to a police report, he was later deployed to Kenya as part of a group that was to conduct attacks in Nairobi in February this year.

Abdalla, is closely linked to Abdimajit Hassan, another terrorism suspect currently facing charges of planning attacks in Nairobi using a Vehicle Borne Explosive Device (VBIED). The device was recovered by police in Merti, Isiolo County on January 15, 2018. They also recovered AK-47 rifles, hundreds of bullets and improvised explosive devices.

A manhunt for him was launched following the arrest of Abdimajit. Prior to joining Al Shabaab, Abdalla was apparently a habitual offender who together with several other youths, burnt down the Living Water Church in Kitui.

They were arrested and charged with arson, but Abdalla jumped bail and it is during this time that he is believed to have sneaked to Somalia and joined the Al-Shabaab. Police are urging members of the public to help them with any information that may lead to his arrest.


Student Says Universities Prime Target for Radicalization

For Kenyan college students, the university experience involves more than just term papers, final exams and all-night study sessions. It is a period where students meet new people and experience so many new things.

Joy Alunga a participant in the Lenga Ugaidi na talanta competition revealed that she participated in the short film counter terrorism competition because she wanted to inform her peers that radicalization happens in universities.

“It’s not mad people who become radicalized; it’s people like us. People, who dress neatly every day like I have dressed, are the people who get radicalized. It is not those people who you think, for example, have not gone to school. It is people like us who get radicalized,” said Joy.

Alunga who spoke to the organizers of the competition said the youth should take the front seat in the fight against terrorism. Radicalization and violent youth extremism were key themes of the competition.

“Radicalization is a result of the disappointment that young people are going through,” said Alunga, “That’s why they are vulnerable to these extremist groups such as Al Shabaab.

The recruiters, go to institutions, formal institutions like universities and target the brightest students,” In January 2018 it was established that 54 university students abandoned their studies to join terrorist groups in Somalia and Libya over the last three years. A number of those who fled have since been killed either in combat or executed after falling out with their commanders.

Ms Alunga has called on fellow university students to pay more attention to attractive job offers and money deals. The third year student has called for increased vigil in learning institutions.


Teenager Radicalized Through Video Games

Shady was a fourteen year old male from Kahawa west a bright, quiet and reserved boy who loved playing video games. He often found consolation when playing online games, but an experience with online gaming changed him within a year.

Every day after school, Shady used to go to the cyber cafe that was near his home in the heart of Kahawa west. Shady was also learning French and Arabic in school so he used to ask his parents for money to go and do research on the internet.

He was really good in the two languages and that reflected in the grades he got in school, so his parents never suspected that he would spend hours in the cyber playing games.
With time he became good in the games so he started playing games that were rated PG 18 because they involved the use of guns and most had graphic content that appealed to boys his age, the unique feature of these games was they had chat rooms where players got to communicate with each other.

One time as Shady was playing a game called Salil al-Sawarem (The Clanging of the Swords) he got a chance to play with an opponent who was Arabian and created a friendship, which was enhanced especially when they used Arabic to communicate. Shady was excited that he could get a chance to practice the language with his new friend. His friend’s name was Mahmud Abbasand he was from Syria. Shady’s curiosity increased and his interest in Abbas’ culture grew, he wanted to learn more about his culture and country so they exchanged contacts.

Abbas asked Shady only to text him on Telegram since it was the only social media platform allowed in their country. The friendship grew for a year, then Shady’s behaviour started changing, he started becoming violent in school. One day got into a confrontation with one of the students and stabbed him with a fork.

This started raising concerns to both his parents and teachers and they even took him to a counsellor but they still did not understand why his behaviour had changed drastically.
One evening his parents received a call from the police who told them that their son had been caught with three other teenage boys trying to cross the border to Somalia to join Al shabaab.

During interrogation, Shady confessed of how he was given directions of how to get to Somalia where he would fight using real guns and would even be known as a hero, instead of playing video games using fake guns.

Five Most Wanted ISIS Commanders Captured In Complex Sting

Five ‘Most wanted’ ISIS commanders have been captured, including a top aide to Abu Bakr al-baghdadi the group’s leader. The militants were hunted down in a complex cross-border sting carried out by Iraqi and American intelligence.

The five include four Iraqis and one Syrian whose responsibilities included governing ISIS’ territory around Deir el-Zour, Syria, directing internal security and running the administrative body that oversees religious rulings.

The three-month operation, which tracked a group of senior ISIS leaders who had been hiding in Syria and Turkey, represents a significant intelligence victory for the US-led coalition fighting the extremist.

An Iraqi intelligence unit responsible for undercover missions had tracked Ismail Alwaan al-Ithawi, an Iraqi known by the ‘nom de guerre’ Abu Zeid al-Iraqi, from Syria to the Turkish city of Sakarya, about 160km east of Istanbul.

Ithawi, described by the Iraqis as a top aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been living in Turkey according to officials