AMISOM Extends Mandate In Somalia as Al Shabaab Diminishes

A UN-backed peacekeeping mission in Somalia, which faces attacks by an Al-Qaeda affiliate, received unanimous Security Council backing Tuesday until July 31.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), with about 21,600 troops, operates with the approval of the UN and relies on international funding.

By extending Amisom’s mandate to the end of July, the United Nations Security Council allowed for a review of recommendations expected in a “joint assessment” report on Somalia to be presented by June 15.

In its resolution, the Security Council recalled that it authorized the African Union to reduce Amisom to roughly 20,600 personnel by October 30, after 1,000 troops were pulled out last year.

There are plans for a full withdrawal of foreign troops by December 2020, but heads of state and ministers from the main troop contributors — including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda — in March warned the timeframe for the drawdown was “not realistic and would lead to a reversal of the gains made by Amisom.”

The mission was deployed in 2007 to defend the internationally-backed government against attacks by the Shabaab, a Somali-led Al-Qaeda affiliate.

Somalia is slowly gaining its foothold as the forces liberate most regions and citizens.

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Al Shabaab Misinterpreting Ramadan To Justify Attacks

Ramadan has witnessed a stunning rise in attacks relative to other months in recent years, an increase attributed to terrorist groups, and its attempts to transform the month of prayer and atonement to one of bloodshed and violence.

Ramadan is of such a high status; acts of good deeds during the month are of immense virtue and earn a greatly multiplied reward, this has been misinterpreted and twisted by terrorist groups to include attacks on non-Muslims.

Calls for violence were covered in Islamic language, such as when ISIS and Al Shabaab officials claimed that the heightened religiosity of the ramadhan season meant spiritual rewards for terrorist acts and that and it would be greater than normal days.

To validate themselves, jihadists often evoke the Battle of Badr, a key moment in early Muslim history that occurred during the month of Ramadan in the year 624 CE. During the battle, Muslim forces overwhelmed their enemies despite being massively outnumbered. Against all odds, their victory ensured the survival of the fledgling community of believers. It’s no surprise that jihadists like to draw attention to this example, manipulating it to their political ends.

The truth is, just as one receives multiplied rewards for good deeds in ramadhan, terrorist groups receive multiplied bad deeds for spending the sacred month of ramadhan oppressing people and killing the innocents.

For Muslims globally, these attacks during ramadhan are perhaps the clearest evidence that organizations like Al Shabaab are un-Islamic and distort the core message of their faith. That is why in Kenyan Muslim scholars have come out in numbers to denounce these evil minded terrorist groups who claim to be Muslims but do the exact opposite of what Islam teaches.

 

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.

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.

 

Police Arrest Husband And Wife Linked To Al Shabaab

Police have arrested a couple suspected to be financiers and logicians for the Al-Shabaab terror group. Officers apprehended Yassin Abdille Hussein aka Abu Sumeiya and his wife Fartun Mohammed Guleidin Eastleigh, Nairobi.

The two are also believed to be accomplices of a key Al-Shabaab operative in Mandera, Abdiweli Mohamed Guleid alias Abdiweli Kamaure, who is the mastermind behind the November 2014Mandera Bus attack where the militants cold-bloodedly killed all the non-Muslims onboard the Mandera-bound bus.

The couple, from the Marehan clan, emigrated from Gedo region in Somalia and has been operating in Kenya using fake documents. Police reports indicate that the two have various businesses whose finances are channeled to support Al Shabaab activities.The 42-year-old Yassin Abdille Hussein, is a contractor who mainly operates his renovation trade in South B and parts of Eastleigh, while his wife Fartun Mohammed Guleid, 41 is the sister to Kamaure.

An inquiry to how they were able to open businesses and operate in the country under false documentation is also under investigation. Initial reports confirm that the two have been channeling funds to Kamaure for atleast for over five years now. Kamaure joined Alshabaab in 2007, and is currently the Deputy Governor of Gedo Region serving under Al shabaab head Sheikh Abdirahman Fillow, he is said to be instrumental in the co-ordination of attacks by Alshabaab in Bulla-Hawa, Mandera and along the border of Mandera and Somalia deploying militia to kill teachers and quarry workers in Mandera County.

He has also been in charge of some of the attacks by the group in Wajir. Five wanted terrorists from Wajir identified through a police press statement last week are said to be be operating under the command of Kamaure, the five include; Kullow Yarrow Abdi, Mohamed Ahmed Yarrow, Ahmed Dabar, Mohamed Mohamud Abdullahi and Adan Yussuf Sheikh.

Kamaure is also in charge of a recruitment cell that preys on disillusioned youth from Mandera and Wajir Counties, radicalizing them and facilitating their travel to Somalia for training and thereafter their return to the country where they carry out attacks against security Installations and vehicles, and other critical infrastructure in the North Eastern and Coastal region of the country.

Security agencies are urging the public to volunteer information that will lead to the arrest of these individuals.The security agencies have also expressed delight at the quick action of local leaders and the public for their commitment to the fight against terrorism in the country. They also indicated that they are closing in on the suspects who are still in hiding and urged the public to volunteer any further information that will lead to their arrest.

Former Al Shabaab member denounces the militia group for killing Muslims

Former Al Shabaab member has denounced the rag tag militia group calling it dishonest, ungrateful, shameful and cold of the group to commit attacks on innocent civilians.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said to be very radical and one of the listed terrorists by the US government was once an active member of the Al Shabaab and was supportive of Mukhtar Robow as the emir of the Al Shabaab mostly serving as a spiritual leader to the militants.

The Sheikh however fell out with the group after he called out leaders in the Al Shabaab for killing fellow Muslims and unarmed civilians  further highlighting the rift and imminent collapse of the Al Shabaab due to greed for power within ranks as Abu Ubaidah Al Shabaab leader’s health deteriorates.

As the former Hizbul Islam leader launched an offensive on the militia, he called the militants out for killing his friend and former colleagues in Mogadishu.