News / Africa

Many Somalis Still See al-Shabab as Threat

A United Nations report this month said half of Somalia’s population wants to leave the country despite security gains and the creation of a new government. Some Somalis who have fled still see the al-Qaida linked group al-Shabab as a threat to both their lives and the future of their country.

In 2008, Ismail Maalim Ahmed, was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Somalia’s Bay region.  That year, in July, he came under attack from al-Shabab.

“I was working with WHO as a health surveyor.  Al-Shabab kidnapped me at a place which is 25 kilomteters away from Baidoa and took me to a remote place.  In the first place they deceived me by asking me a favor to give them a lift to some place.  When we arrived at the village they told me to come out of the car at a gunpoint and they said to me I was infidel and a spy and they shot me nine times,” Ahmed said.

Left to die, Ahmed struggled to walk for seven kilometers over eight hours.  After a long ordeal he got help and he was taken to the town of Dinsroor.  The next day he was airlifted to Nairobi for further treatment.

After three months staying in Nairobi he went back to Dinsoor.  Ahmed says he wanted answers as to why al-Shabab wanted him dead.

But al-Shabab still saw him as a threat, and left him a message demanding he leave the country within 24 hours.

Ahmed‘s story is the example of the kind of pressure al-Shabab has put on Somalis to leave their own country.

The U.N. report says despite security gains made in the last two years, Somalis are not yet convinced things will change for better, and half of the population wants to seek refuge in other countries.

Lack of opportunities inside the country have also made easy for al-Shabab to recruit youths to fight for the group.

A Human Rights Watch report released in February noted the militant group has increasingly recruited children to strengthen its numbers.  Families and children that resist the recruitment drive face severe consequences and even death.

Some parents whose sons have joined al-Shabab have found other alternatives to get their sons back without being detected by the militant group.

Thirty-year old AbdiKhadir Mohamed, who lives in Nairobi, has recently travelled back to Somalia to get his 12-year-old nephew who joined al-Shabab when his entire class joined.

Mohamed said he took the initiative to get the youngster back after his parents were so afraid from al-Shabab.

“I talked to the parents of the boy if they were comfortable with their son joining the group al-Shabab.  They told me they were not okay with it.  That’s when I decided I have to play the role of an uncle to save the boy whatever it takes.  So that I can change his life and his future,” Mohamed said.

With al-Shabab in retreat now, losing large territories they once controlled, Mohamed says it is time for all Somalis to get their sons out of terror groups.

“Every one of us has to look ways to get our people back whatever it takes.  We all know each other, we all live in the country, we know every district, town and village and we all know where our boys are stationed.  They have to find solution to their sons before they are kille,” Mohamed said.

Despite al-Shabab losing ground in recent months Somalis are still worried about the threat posed by its members.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs