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 Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs