Defiant Al-Shaabab reaches out to Somalis in Diaspora
Posted Saturday, September 19 2009 at 20:11
Several reports indicate international jihadists are active in parts of southern and central Somalia.
In May this year, when clashes between the TFG forces and the Islamist fighters soared in Mogadishu, many city residents said they had seen foreign jihadists on some major streets in the Somali capital.
They were reportedly distributing leaflets and CDs with quotes from Sheikh Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda the radical group targeted in the fight against terror.
According to his friends, Hassan was popular and had been nicknamed Maska- Somali for ‘snake.’ So far, the families of five youths say their relatives have died in the war in Somalia after travelling from North America.
Subsequent investigations by US authorities have led to the arrest of three young men. They have been charged with training with or joining the Islamists fighting the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.
Other Diaspora Somalis have been charged, at one time or another, in connection with the Islamist jihad in Somalia. Britain, Sweden and Yemen, with some said to be involved in raising funds.
Somalia’s neighbours, Ethiopia and Kenya, were particularly vulnerable to Al-Shabaab’s influence. Both countries have a significant ethnic Somali population and share a total of a 3,000-kilometre border with Somalia.
Reports have indicated the possibility of cross-border recruitment aided by porous borders.
Apart from Kenya and Ethiopia, there have been reports of Al-Shaabab influence in far-away Australia. In August, four men, two of them ethnic Somalis, were apprehended by security forces in Melbourne, the capital, and charged with attempts to carry out suicide missions against military targets in that country.
Indications are that Somalis in Diaspora are also at risk as TFG forces battle in the homeland to defeat Al-Shaabab.