Vicious power wrangles in al Shabaab are slowly tearing the terror group from within.
The Star has established that things have not been working at the militants’ operational base, something that has weakened the proscribed outfit’s activities.
A number of top terrorists have in the recent past been executed after their loyalty was questioned. The majority have switched allegiance to ISIS.
“Currently, the biggest threat to the militants’ leadership is the increasing influence of ISIS within the group. The leadership is wary of the influence that ISIS is having on the group causing rifts and undermining their authority,” a security source confided to the Star.
Also being cited as having fuelled division is the murder of Kenyan-born militant Ahmed Iman in March 2018. Many within the terror group believe the murder was carefully planned by some leaders to cut his growing popularity.
Security experts say the presence of ISIS and its perceived influence over the group is a contributing factor within the group. However, they add that recent numerous defections by top and middle-level leaders should worry the group more.
Al Shabaab has suffered several defections this year, some top commanders who have surrendered to the Somali government include Ahmed Yusuf Adow, Aden Mohamed, also known as ‘Aden Obe’, and Food Aden Mohamoud, a ruthless al Shabaab tax collector.
However, credible sources have confirmed of efforts to bring together the warring factions.
Already a reconciliatory meeting – bringing on board all al Shabaab leaders – has been planned in a desperate move to seal the cracks that threaten the existence of al Shabaab.
The meeting will also serve to demystify rumours that the group’s leadership is considering joining the Somali government and have foreign militants to government forces.
Among the people expected to attend the meeting include Abdiaziz Abu Musaab and Mahat Karate, the current deputy leader of al Shabaab.
Recently, Mahat Karate has been releasing video and audio on behalf of the terrorist outfit, which according to security analysts, is a move to show his future intentions to take al Shabaab leadership.
Sources say he is the most prominent leader among al shabaab younger fighters and recruits, hence his physical presence expected in Gedo meeting.