Foreign fighters ditch al-Shabaab ranks over mistreatment, report

Foreigners fighting alongside Somali based armed group, the al Shabab are defecting due to mistreatment and lack of trust.

Fighters who sneaked out of the group said the group was prosecuting its foreign members by putting them on frontlines to test their loyalty.

According to Kenyan based Newspaper, The Star, majority of them have already left Jilib and Buale heading towards other parts of the country for a haven.

“They use Kenyans and other foreign fighters as pawns – for suicide missions, as foot soldiers on the frontlines, or they are assassinated for suspicion of spying for the enemy,” one recent returnee confessed.

“The killings of the influential commanders from Kenya have generated a lot of concerns among its local and Somalia members. There is disquiet amongst Kenyans in al Shabaab after the death of a top Kenyan al Shabaab operative Ahmed Iman Ali alias Abu Zinira,” the returnees said.

Iman was among the commanders killed following an airstrike on an al Shabaab camp in Buale, Somalia, in late March 2019.

According to Kenyan security agencies, a number have already returned and are undergoing rehabilitation or are under the radar of counter-terrorism agencies.

The mistrust between Somali fighters and foreign fighters within al-Shabaab is not new.

In June 2011, a Comoros-born al-Qaeda operative Mohamed Harun Fazul was also killed, and American born Abu Mansour Al-Amriki, was murdered in 2013 after a disagreement with the group leader.