30 December 2015
The Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) is expanding into Somalia with factions of the Al Shabaab militant groups pledging allegiance to its “caliph” Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi. Will these defections split the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabaab or empower IS in the Horn of Africa?
Last October, ISIS released seven videos featuring its fighters from Somalia as well as those from North Africa and Southeast Asia. The videos urge militants, referred to as ‘Mujahideen’, in Somalia to join the ranks of ISIS, stressing the importance of unity and danger of division. They emphasise the obligation to give bai’ah (pledge of allegiance) to IS “Caliph” Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi, and advise that if leaders of the Mujahideen in Somalia refuse to give bai’ah, fighters should defect.
They promise that unity between the Somali Mujahideen and ISIS will bring them benefits such as receiving more support and gaining more victories on the battlefield. Groups in Libya, West Africa and Yemen were cited as examples of those who have pledged allegiance and reaped the benefits of unity.
… Nur Aziemah Binte Azman and Syed Huzaifah Bin Othman Alkaff are Research Analysts with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 04/01/2016