WARARKA BARAAWEPOST Wednesday 20 january 2010
Is Al-Shabaab support all that it`s said to be?
Interviews with some of the captured former members or defectors reveal that Al-Shabaab - which means youth - is a movement driven by the desire by the struggling to take charge in a society where the elderly have messed up for 20 years. But then, are they going about it the right way?
Al Shabaab is comprised of mainly youth between 15 and 25 years. The leaders capitalise on religious demagogy, poverty and ignorance to indoctrinate the youth. They target the poor and the minority clans who are brainwashed that they are fighting the big clans for their own liberation and economic uplifting.
The insurgents are driven by a belief among the Somali youth that since the days of Siad Barre, every government and foreign force like the
They have become brazen since they drove out Ethiopian troops out of
Take 21-year old, Ismail Mohammed Issak, former Al-Shabaab militia who was captured by Amisom after a street battle. He is currently recovering at the Amisom Field Hospital after his leg was amputated.
According to the Al-Shabaab doctrine, he ought to have died in battle rather than accept medical treatment from the "enemy".
When asked why he and his group were fighting TFG, Issak maintained that it is not something that they have been instructed to do but something in their hearts and something they have to do.
Issak's show of defiance comes across in the delivery of the seemingly "unquestionable" interpretation of the Koran.
"I believe in the Holy Jihad and my leg was amputated on the will of God. Everything that will happen to me has already been put in the book by Allah and I have no control over it," he said.
That is the kind of determination that even the Amisom forces troops find hard to deal with when they push for negotiations between Al-Shabaab and the TFG.
Al-Shabaab is an offshoot of the former military wing of the deposed Islamic Courts Union that ruled
It is believed that some of the Al-Shabaab patrons were trained in
The Al-Shabaab first emerged when they began fighting criminal gangs who had been in control of
But then, the defectors who were interviewed give the indication that the militia group is not so closely-knit as they would like the world to believe.
The defectors The EastAfrican interviewed while taking refuge at the Presidential Palace, were between 19 and 32.
The so-called commander of the defectors turned out to be deeply religious, something the Al-Shabaab ideologues capitalise on. He defected because he did not agree with the version of Islam they were being taught and left because in his words, he didn't want to lose his faith.
Then there is the 22-year old Sharif Sami, who came from
The Al-Shabaab first emerged when they began combatting criminal gangs who had been in control of
Source: The East African (