Al-Shabaab threats attempt to distract from loss of Kismayo

By Bosire Boniface in Wajir

October 31, 2012

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Al-Shabaab is trying to rally international support for its demoralised fighters after losing the port city stronghold of Kismayo by issuing threats to a number of countries, security officials and analysts say.

  • A man paints over an al-Shabaab sign in Wanlaweyn on October 11th after African Union and Somali government troops seized the town from the militant group. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP]

    A man paints over an al-Shabaab sign in Wanlaweyn on October 11th after African Union and Somali government troops seized the town from the militant group. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP]

Al-Shabaab has been updating its Twitter account regularly since the loss in an attempt to remain relevant and incite its followers to defend themselves against what it calls war and brutality against innocent Muslims.

The militant group has threatened to attack Britain as well as neighbouring countries to Somalia.

In a series of 15 Twitter posts on October 22nd, al-Shabaab said Britain would "pay the heftiest price for its brazen role in the war against Islam and endless brutality against innocent Muslims".

"The nightmare that surreptitiously looms on British shores is bound to eclipse the horrors of 7/7 and 21/7 combined," al-Shabaab said.

The London bombings on July 7, 2005, were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks on the city's public transport system that killed 52 civilians and the four bombers. Two weeks later, four attempted bomb attacks disrupted part of the city's public transport system.

Al-Shabaab also pledged retaliation for a decision by the High Court in London to extradite radical cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, better known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, to the United States on October 5th. Mustafa is charged with setting up a training camp in Oregon, which he denied October 9th in a New York court.

On Sunday (October 28th), the militant group renewed its threats against Kenya, whose military has been fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia for over a year.

"The enemies we are facing have made historic miscalculation when they sent Kenya to invade the Muslim land of Somalia," said one tweet attributed to al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, also known as Ahmed Godane. "Kenya will soon regret having embarked on this particular course of action, Insha Allaah [God willing]."

Threats are rallying calls to boost morale

Analysts and security officials told Sabahi that the threats are attempts by the al-Qaeda-allied group to divert attention from the loss of Kismayo.

Retired army Major Bashir Hajji Abdullahi, a Nairobi based security analyst and consultant, said the group's leadership hopes the threats to conduct operations on foreign soil will not only make al-Shabaab relevant internationally, but also inspire its own fighters who he said feel demoralised after being misled into thinking they were invincible in Kismayo.

David Ochami, a Mombasa-based journalist who follows militant groups in the Middle East and Horn of Africa for Kenya's The Standard, told Sabahi that al-Shabaab's threats should not be underestimated despite their recent losses.

"With foreign jihadists among its ranks, even a lone militant is dangerous," Ochami said. "They may lack an area from which to form, but they will desperately resort to guerrilla tactics to remain relevant."

The threats can be seen as rallying calls to boost the morale of al-Shabaab fighters who have fled and joined civilian populations, according to Ochami.

He said al-Shabaab's threats against Britain may not mean an attack on British soil, adding that more vigilance is needed to protect British and other foreign nationals in Kenya and elsewhere.

Still, Ochami downplayed al-Shabaab's ability to launch large scale attacks, even closer to home.

"Nobody loses sleep these days when they issue threats because they have no capacity to commit a large scale attack in the short term," he said.

Kenyan Defence Minister Yusuf Haji said the government takes the threats seriously and is working with embassies of foreign countries daily to review the threats and work out the best way to respond to them.

"We are committed to the war on the militants," he told Sabahi. "It will be long one, but good has always prevailed over evil."

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Reader's Comments

  • qaahira
    December 4, 2012 @ 10:37:53AM

    Peace on you. I am in Ethiopia and may the almighty God finish the remnants of Al Shabaab. May God also unite the Somalia government.

  • Faadumo Ali Warsame
    December 2, 2012 @ 03:09:54AM

    First I would like to greet all the staff for this Sabahi website, besides it is also good for the society and checking on the government is also something normal but they have been misleading the Somalis on a number of things. Shabaab is good for some things and bad for others. They are good in ensuring peace and stability but they bad in what they normally do in terms of perpetrating the suicide bombings of poor people, slaughtering people and a few other things that they normally rush for. Regarding enforcing the veil, it is okay but everything they do is to create fear and turn people against them. But I would advise them to avoid killing their people by doing the suicide bombs amidst them every day.

  • xamda axmed
    November 30, 2012 @ 06:55:38AM

    Al-Shabaab are the only people standing for the protection of the religion of God. They are people supported by God, so we should help them do whatever we can do for them. They are our brothers therefore let's not insult them if we cannot work with them. I pray to God to support them and give them success.

  • med
    November 29, 2012 @ 09:37:19AM

    Let them be beaten.

  • mustafe cawale
    November 29, 2012 @ 06:12:48AM

    I live in Djibouti. Al-Shabaab got destroyed and this is the leftovers of its main power to fight and they have no strengh. I congratulate the military of Djibouti that lives in Baladweyn.

    November 28, 2012 @ 09:18:02AM

    What Al-Shabaab members are doing is right because they are defending their right

    November 27, 2012 @ 02:28:50AM


  • nabhaani
    November 26, 2012 @ 12:32:15PM

    I would like to send a clear message from here to those who serve the interest of the disbelievers or the sycophants. You should understand that Islam or the Muslim creed will never be defeated. I swear in the name of God, anyone dreaming of ruling Somalia with something else other than the holy book is not aware of the current issues or dreaming. Somalia will never be ruled with something else other than the the holy book and the followers of the disbelievers and those who turned away from Islam should know that.

  • Emanuel shabeng
    November 26, 2012 @ 12:16:17PM

    The war against Al-Shabaab is a war against terrorism so we pray that the soldiers get extra strength in order to face it.

  • matigari
    November 26, 2012 @ 06:34:30AM

    they are supposed to be delt with accordingly.

  • cabdikariin maxamedyalas
    November 26, 2012 @ 03:19:01AM

    I want to join Al-Shabaab.

    November 25, 2012 @ 11:19:17PM

    Threats of alshabab are just but kicks of a deing..The modern society has no space for people who have respect for mankind.bravo to kenyan defence Forces.

  • abdilaahi yuusuf
    November 25, 2012 @ 11:24:50AM

    Peace on you. I think the government has to be alert because no one can know who is Al-Shabaab and who is not. Therefore I would like to urge the government to protect places where people gather such as public gatherings and markets.

  • Yugi philip
    November 24, 2012 @ 02:43:08PM

    The alshabab threats should not be taken for granted and this should the kenyan gorvement of the recent bomb in nairobi.

  • abdirahmaan
    November 24, 2012 @ 07:46:38AM

    Somalia will never be out of its failed status and destruction and we pray to God to further increase its problems, destruction, wars and fights that will never end til the time Mahdi speaks. Amen, God willing.

  • Vincent Kilonzo
    November 23, 2012 @ 06:33:17AM

    I tell AL SHABAAB that, they will not make it since they have informed us.Those are speculations.

  • hosni
    November 22, 2012 @ 04:17:52AM

    lets face the reality n stop burrying our heads in the sand, our so called leaders are incapable of creating A TERROR FREE COUNTRY.not until they stop meddling in al shabaab business

  • buraale
    November 21, 2012 @ 11:14:19PM

    To me, I think Silanyo was known for this and it is a sign of poor leadership. It has been ruling the country for 2 years and hated more than the government of Dahir Riyaale that ruled for 8 years.

  • david mutemi
    November 21, 2012 @ 08:57:43AM

    threats to be taken is the right way to go

  • Khalid
    November 20, 2012 @ 12:39:38PM

    Peace on you. My brothers, I would like to tell you those men insulting the holy war fighters are lost and they should therefore repent to God.

  • Kimutai
    November 20, 2012 @ 06:18:53AM

    Islam is not about condening others to gullows, its the idiologises thatare misguided that is bringing problems to islamic religion

  • abdi aziiz
    November 20, 2012 @ 04:01:51AM

    The problems by the terrorist group; Al-Shabaab to the people has come to an end and those government whose military is in Somalia can do nothing at the moment.

  • houssein musse comar
    November 19, 2012 @ 10:40:04AM

    The question is what peace cannot be born and for what reason?

  • Mohamed
    November 19, 2012 @ 06:38:23AM


  • ndayalak
    November 19, 2012 @ 03:48:31AM

    we shall not allow

  • ابو حسان
    November 18, 2012 @ 03:20:37AM

    May God put in hell-fire the administrators of this website and make hell their home. You are following a path same as the one that destroyed Pharaoh. You constantly talk ill about Islam and you are demoralizing Islam in Somalia. May God end you up in the hell-fire in the hereafter and subject you to losses in this world. May the wrath of God be on you.

    November 17, 2012 @ 07:18:06AM

    Good to know about these threats.They should not be taken lightly.

  • xussen
    November 16, 2012 @ 03:52:22PM

    I am opposed to this because it is not logic.

  • JOHN
    November 16, 2012 @ 12:32:45AM

    this just but a nightmare....

    November 15, 2012 @ 11:55:12PM

    Kenyans security personnel should take the threat seriously because they embark through gourrilla tactics so let KDF be on alert as we face election

  • asad abdirahman
    November 15, 2012 @ 10:21:18AM

    I think that was just speculations.

  • mohamed ibraahim
    November 14, 2012 @ 01:21:57PM

    Al-Shabaab was better than the so called Ras-kamboni and Kenya because Kenya does not want peace for Somalia. Kenya should leave our country or else our country will be under colony. I think Al-Shabaab or the government of Somalia is better to rule Kismayo but Kenya does want a government to be born in Somalia.

  • isaac sitati
    November 13, 2012 @ 01:56:31AM

    Empty threats!

    November 13, 2012 @ 01:28:06AM

    It is wrong because Al-Shabaab is a power that will never get destroyed because they fight using the Muslim creed (TOWHID). As a result, Kenya is trying to cover the sunlight with its PALMS which is impossible. Al-Shabaab is the power of the horn of Africa and Kenya will soon come under the rule of the movement; AL-Shabaab. Kenya is going to END.

    November 12, 2012 @ 01:48:32PM

    Its good to eliminate few who are taking advantange by making the country and the neighbours poorer every day.

  • abdi lander
    November 12, 2012 @ 04:28:51AM

    We want to tell Al-Shabaab that their time has expired and we are sorry that their time has expired.

  • Roba
    November 9, 2012 @ 04:49:26AM

    Al-shabaab should be wiped out

  • abdihakim
    November 9, 2012 @ 02:51:45AM

    Peace on you. My brothers, let me talk about this news. What do people want from Muslims? They are adhering to their religion and they are living in their own country, and thus I believe that they should be left alone. I will not continue with my statement brothers, so care for your people. That is my advice.

    November 8, 2012 @ 12:34:54PM

    Somalia deserves a chance to grow and compete with her neighbors economically and in all other areas. any person or group that opposes the will of the people of Somalia needs to be told frankly that, history has passed beneath them and their activities are irrelevant to the times we live now. militia cannot be tolerated. Ali shabaab cannot be tolerated.

  • faranas
    November 5, 2012 @ 12:43:57PM

    I am sad about the genocide committed by those men called Al-Shabaab. They are ones who made the country crazy. I congratulate our forces, parliamentarians and president; Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

  • muse adam jamac
    November 3, 2012 @ 03:43:41AM

    The people of Somalia are really happy with the elimination of Al-Shabaab.

  • Andrew
    November 2, 2012 @ 07:11:02AM

    It is shockin but, as much as the right steps are being taken, nothing is to be worried about and also 10 per cent cannot be allowed to ruin 90 per cent.

  • C/naasir Xaashi C/lle
    November 2, 2012 @ 02:48:45AM

    Since the disbelievers and the so-called international community do not want a government and other good things for Somalia, then we have to follow those who will rule the country using the book of God and Al-Shabaab has to change something from its ideology. They have to consider the ideas held by the other Somali Muslims so that we can liberate the country from the disbelievers and those who work with them.

  • maxamed c/raxmaan cige
    November 2, 2012 @ 02:24:05AM

    I want to know the time the government of Siyad Bare took over the country.

  • IAN
    November 1, 2012 @ 11:30:41AM

    Terrorism is war without borders any threat the Al-shabaab make should be taken seriously by all countries neihbouring Somalia.

  • wam
    November 1, 2012 @ 10:10:57AM

    I'm still hesitating to say that the young people who get involved in the matter of killing others in the name of religion. I do not believe that they have adequate capacity to think seriously for themselves. Sacrificing oneself is a good thing if many people support you but I believe that even God the creator of heaven and everything else does not at all agree with people who have no wisdom nor mercy, those who are troublesome to innocent children and the elderly, let them ask themselves those disabled and sick people who were innocent and got problems through that faith. Can they draw these people to believe in what they are defending? What influence can they use to to make the public in the world to believe that what they are doing is right. I hesitate to ask, can the God they are defending be defeated by infidels? If that is the case why haven't they been defeated throughout the world where they have been? I believe that where they are by themselves without God the Creator of heaven. Think afresh and let it work before you act. you have been encouraged, where is the one who encouraged you? He is living in hiding, he is not happy. You cannot have peace when living in a lot of doubt you cannot be happy about those you are creating problems for, innocent elderly people and children and the disabled. You will be questioned for torturing these people. Think afresh you who are influenced in the interest of others. I believe that even God wonders. Think again. I believe that even the families of the bombers cannot agree with that and they are not happy.

  • sik
    November 1, 2012 @ 05:09:53AM

    Alshabaab are not fight for muslim community!!Are they the secutity guards for the religion??This is to just to blackmail muslims for support.It means not fighting to show love for your religion!!!!

  • abdiqani
    October 31, 2012 @ 11:12:11PM

    As aware some people, al shabab would attempte to targeting social centers,embassess, political offices and some key important positions while al shabaab expelled significant cities include key port city kismanyo . Al shabab fighters faced deep demoralised due to the missing many stronghold places that is why al shabaab will start extraordinary operations in the countries involving polictical somali fore intsance, kenya, uganda and Ethiopia.

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