Al-Shabaab’s Financial Woes Are Causing Them to Sink to New Lows

SOMALIA, Garsale: In a handout photograph dated 22 September and released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team 23 September, a senior commanding officer of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) shakes hands with a commander of the Al Qaeda-affiliated militant group Al Shabaab after more than 200 fighters gave themselves up to AMISOM forces of the in Garsale, approximately 10km from the town of Jowhar, 80km north of the capital Mogadishu. The militants disengaged following in-fighting between militants in the region in which 8 Al Shabaab were killed, including 2 senior commanders. The former fighters were peacefully taken into AMISOM's protection handing in over 80 weapons in the process, in a further indication that the once-feared militant group is now divided and being defeated across Somalia. Deputy Force Commander of AMISOM Operations, Brigadier Michael Ondoga said a number of militants have contacted the AU force indicating their wish to cease fighting and that they their safety is assured if they give themselves up peacefully to AMISOM forces. AU-UN IST PHOTO / ABUKAR ALBADRI.

Militants working for terror sect al-Shabaab are extorting colossal sums of money from starving families and recruiting “hundreds of children” as soldiers and suicide bombers, it was revealed this week.

As the terror group suffer growing financial pressures they are increasingly resorting to morally reprehensible tactics in a desperate bid to retain their waning influence. The revelations came after intelligence documents, transcriptions of interrogations with recent defectors and press interviews with inhabitants of southern Somalia surfaced.

To some, the harsh rule and lack of moral compass that al-Shabaab are exhibiting is shocking. But to many others, it is common knowledge that they are responsible for systematic and consistent human rights abuses. Abuses that many commentators have argued are on par with the atrocities committed by other global Islamists such as Daesh or al-Qaida.

Life is cheap to al-Shabaab. They regularly put to death citizens for no good reason whatsoever such as having an opinion that doesn’t precisely align with theirs. The uncivilised group have also inflicted brutal punishments on people merely because they suspect them of not being ‘a good Muslim’, used innocent women and children as human shields and conducted forced marriages.

In one particular incident, which was investigated by the Guardian, a 16-year-old child met his end in front of a firing squad because he was (with no evidence whatsoever) accused of being a spy. In another instance investigated by the same newspaper, a man was stoned to death for dissenting against the group. Plus, both a 15-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were murdered in a public square, in front of a baying crowd, after being accused of going against Islam.

A defector, who fled central Somalia four months ago, revealed the extent that al-Shabaab are financially starving the inhabitants under their control. He described a situation where wells are taxed (at $20,000 — £14,000) per month. “Muslims pay for pretty much everything except entering the mosque,” he said.

It seems that as al-Shabaab’s financial situation becomes increasingly desperate, the depraved nature of their activities intensifies. The less influence that they hold amongst the inhabitants of Somalia, the more extreme they become.

Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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