The inter-governmental Authority n Development (IGAD), the eight-country trade and development bloc in eastern Africa, has launched a report on Al Shabaab that highlighted the extremist group is changing tactics.
Al Shabaab is neither getting stronger nor weakening rather changing its tactics, according to the report, launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this morning. The extremist group, which has been operating in the east African region for the past several years, is now using different recruiting mechanisms such as using Kiswahili language and business as well as leisure travelers.
“Al Shabaab has lost its major basis. But this doesn’t mean it is dead. From past experiences the extremist group is known for changing its strategies,” said Commander Abebe Muluneh Beyene, Director at IGAD Security Sector Program.
Commander Abebe noted that the report is produced based on UN Resolution 2023 that suggested the need for supporting evidence on the activities of Al Shabaab and present it to the committee on `
The 2011 UN Security Council Resolution 2023 among others, underscores the international community’s condemnation of Eritrea’s destabilizing behavior in the Horn and its support for terrorism.
Meanwhile, today’s IGAD report has not found any evidence that shows Al shabaab getting international or state financing except individual’s support for specific operations of the extremist group.
Responding to the question if the report has found out about the alleged engagement of Eritrean government in financing Al Shabaab, “For the moment we haven’t got evidence the support Al Shabaab getting external funding,” said Matt Bryden, Executive Chairman of SAHAN, a global research think-tank co-produced the report.
Mr. Bryden stressed that the international community must continue to support the state building process in Somalia to end the existence of Al Shabaab in the country.
In the future IGAD is planning to produce in depth report that shows linkages of Al Shabaab with other regional and international groups, according to Commander Abebe.
So far hundreds of people are killed by Al Shabaab’s attack in the IGAD region mainly in Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda and Somalia. Since September 2014, Al Shabaab is being led by Ahmed Diiriye who runs nine offices after replacing the former leader of the group – Ahmed Abdi Godane, according to the report. The members of the group are mainly
from IGAD Region.
Excluding the new nation – South Sudan, the seven member states of IGAD – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda – cover an area of 5.2 million square kilometers and have a population of more than 180 Million.