At a time when the Somali government is intensifying its military operations against Al-Shabaab, defections have hit the movement, with militants fleeing from the lack of needed funds and supplies.
The Somali army liberated areas in the southern Shabelle region from the control of the terrorist group, recently announcing that it had carried out a military operation that resulted in the killing and wounding of about 12 militants and the surrender of three, while the surrendered confirmed their inability to bear the suffering in the ranks of the movement and called on their colleagues to surrender to the government to serve their community.
The recent escape of the movement’s fighters and their surrender to the government is a remarkable phenomenon. This was followed by presidential decrees pardoning all those who voluntarily abandon the ideology of the terrorist movement. But in return, security officials warned of the danger of complacency with those they described as “repentant”, because they differ between who is high risk and who is low risk.
The main reason for the large number of defections that struck the movement in the recent period is the lack of resources and financing.
Observers said that the escalation of defections within the movement may lead to its weakening since it will lead to organizational shake-up, as the defections encourage many other individuals to take this step, which affects their ability for cohesion and steadfastness, especially since some leaders do not defect alone but have quite a few members of the movement with them.
In the crosshairs of US forces
The escalation of defections is prompting some leaders to cooperate with the Somali government and thus comes the possibility of cooperation with the United States, which may encourage it to intensify its strikes against Al-Shabaab, especially in Washington’s aim to eliminate the active branches of al-Qaeda, especially in Somalia, relying on information that can be provided by the defectors. This will bring Al-Shabaab constantly within the range of fire by the US forces, which will greatly limit the capabilities of the terrorist movement.
Al-Shabaab continues its sporadic terrorist attacks across the country, targeting the military and civilians in conjunction with the intensification of the security authorities’ operations to track down terrorist militias that are trying to tamper with the security of the country and the people.