A new jihadist group pro-ISIS challenge al-Shabaab
In recent days, a new group has been added to the East African jihadist scene. It is Jahba East Africa, who has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State recognizing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the legitimate leader of all Muslims.In a statement published in English in recent days on Twitter, the new group claims to have already recruited militants in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somalia.
- Friday, 15 April 2016
In the paper is publicly denigrated al-Shabaab, the most important jihadist organization in the region, which according Jahba East Africa “has become a physical and psychological prison for its militants”.
The emerging group call on the members of the Somali movement and those of other groups linked to al Qaeda, such as al-Muhajiroun, al-Hijra and Ansar al-Islam, to join its ranks.
The document contains other charges against the Somali extremist group accused of not serve Islam according to the laws of Allah and that he blamed of treason without proof many mujahedeen, who had decided to join the cause of the Caliphate.
The al-Shabaab reply
Al-Shabaab has not directly responded to harsh accusations made by the new jihadist group, but last Sunday replied by publishing a video in which it reaffirmed its value on the battlefield.
The video called “The Battle of El-Ade” reproduces some phases of the attack launched by al-Shabaab militants against the AMISOM base in El-Ade, in the south-west of Somalia, where last January 15 have been killed at least 160 Kenyan soldiers.
The images show young Shabab fighters wearing red headbands steadily advancing through the bush, firing rifles and heavy guns mounted on pickup trucks at Kenyan soldiers huddled in defensive positions. The video also shows Shabaab fighters firing at the heads of fallen soldiers of the African Union peacekeeping mission at close range.
According to Matt Bryden, director of Sahan Research, a nongovernmental organization that since 2002 works for the socio-economic development of Somalia, al-Shabaab has always shown very skilled in the use of social media to undermine the credibility of his opponents.
Bryden explained too, that it is unclear how many Islamists militants who have so far adhered to Jahba East Africa. It is rather obvious that the Islamic State is reaping proselytize throughout Somalia, increasing the likelihood of clashes between extremist rivals factions, as happened in Syria.
The challenge to the authority of al Qaeda
For about a year, the ISIS is trying to convince the leadership of the Somali extremist group to sever its ties with al Qaeda. Between May and October 2015, the al-Hayat Center, the media arm Islamist organization, has posted dozens of videos on the Internet, addressing the fighters of al-Shabaab as a “true mujahedeen” and exhorting them to embrace their cause.
On 23 October Abdul Qadir Mumin, one of the spiritual leaders of the Somali group has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State, along with twenty other members of the organization. The sheik’s decision had more fractures within the extremists, whose vertices are always linked to al Qaeda.
In any case, the more symbolic than practical al-Shabaab membership to the Al Qaeda network, had given rise to heavy internal conflicts, which in June 2013, led, the group’s spokesman for military operations, Abdulaziz Abu Musab, to announce the execution of senior members of the Islamist movement by order of the late leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.
The same situation that is re-emerging now, as shown by the recent killing of some al-Shabaab members considered favorable to the Caliphate. The executions were carried out by Amniyat, a sort of semi-independent secret service by the military leadership of the group, along with the arrest of other al-Shabaab militants guilty of having proven solidarity with the group of al-Baghdadi.
The proclamation of Jahaba East Africa, however, reveals that the al-Shabaab attempt to neutralize the pro-ISIS elements seems to have failed. In addition, the ‘bayah’ pronounced by the new African terrorist group is just the latest in a long line.
The Islamic State’s ‘wilayat’
Since when, in June 2014, the ISIS has proclaimed the restoration of the Caliphate, many jihadi groups have pledged allegiance to Sheikh al-Baghdadi, allowing organization can establish ‘wilayat’ (provinces) outside the original nucleus in Iraq and Syria.
For example, in Libya, after that in November 2014 the Majlis Shura Shabaab al-Islam (the Shura Council of the Islamic youth) has declared its support for the Islamic State arose the province of Cyrenaica, the ‘Wilayat Barqa’.
Again in November 2014, the Egyptian Islamists of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis gave birth to the ‘Wilayat Sinai’, while the Nigerian Boko Haram extremists in March 2015 have declared the West African province ‘Wilayat Gharb Ifriqiya’ and since January 2015 the emir Hafiz Saeed Khan governs ‘Wilayat Khorasan’ extended between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Similarly, in recent months other extremist groups in Southeast Asia, Caucasus, Algeria, Yemen and Gaza have declared their adherence to the Caliphate.