Friday, August 20, 2010

Why young Somalis join Al Shaabab

As the long-running civil war shows no sign of ending, over the past few months, many young Somalis have left the comfort of their home in different part of the world to come and fight in the home that they barely know.

There have been reports that the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab has been recruiting fighters from different part of the world to come back and fight in the war torn Somalia.

“Young people are targeted because of their idealistic nature and when they are not properly educated they can easily be manipulated” says Rashid Abdi Analyst for International Crisis Group in the Horn of Africa
He added that the young people from the Diaspora become easy targets for Al Shaabab because they find it hard to adjust to life in the west and at times the discrimination faced makes them reconsider.

“For the foreign recruits, it’s never about the money, it’s the jihadist ideology because you also have people paying their own air ticket just to come back, that’s not money, it’s their beliefs” remarks Abdi.

In August, US officials charged 14 people with providing money, personnel and services to the Somali militant group al-Shabab. The charges stem from four separate indictments in the US states of Minnesota, Alabama and California.
In two separate indictments, prosecutors charged Shafik Hammami, a former resident of the US state of Alabama, and Jehad Serwan Mostafa, formerly of California, with providing material support to al-Shaabab.
“Al Shaabab is a well resourced army, apart from having the money to pay their forces, they enjoy a strategic ideological well committed army,” says Abdi adding that the Islamic Insurgent are now targeting the young people from the Diaspora. “ the fact that over 4 million people live outside Somalia is reason enough for the radicals to target them” he said.

Somalia's youth have suffered 20-years of lawlessness, lack of education and employment opportunities, and have adopted acts of desperation to survive. The Insurgents group is one of the ways to survive.

The weak western Backed Transitional Federal Government has had hard time fighting the Insurgents. “Despite the International effort to help the TFG, they have not been able to pay their troops well because of the corruption, confusion of chain of command and parallel forces within the forces” he added

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