On June 27th, 2018, Somali Army troops in Southern Somalia conducted a sally against an Islamist’s outpost in the outskirts of Jilib, a town in Lower Juba which serves as the headquarters of the Al-Qaeda offshoot Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen movement and killed 30 fighters.
7 Kenyan fighters and others from Sudan were killed in the operation. Somali Army sources reported eliminating approximately 30 militants manning an outpost outside Jilib, a town north of Kismayo, Lower Juba, Somalia. Jilib has an estimated population of approximately 125.000 mainly Darod Marehan offspring’s.
Analyzing the Numbers from a Threat Lens
- 7 Out of the 30 killed enemy combatants (approximately 25% of the KIA) were Kenyans. This is an interesting event, one worth examining carefully. The large number of dead Kenyan’s in yesterday’s joint operations in Somalia and recent executions of dozens others by the Shabaab intelligence Amniyaat sheds light on the soaring numbers of persons crossing the porous border to join the extremist’s fancy jihad.
- The execution of Kenyan fighters on allegations of spying expounds our findings about increased numbers of East Africans fighting in Somalia, particularly, Tanzanians and Kenyans. The executions can be viewed as thinning of numbers or a form of elimination and discouragement. The increasing acceptance of al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab’s philosophy in traditional African communities has allowed al-Shabaab in particular to spread throughout the broader region, including in Kenya and this means the numbers of those crossing the border or opting to fight from within will continue to grow.
- The figure, 25% is interesting itself since Al-Shabaab’s roots are in Somalia, but the acceptance of its ideologies is attracting considerable numbers of adherents. Attacks in Kenya and along the border with Somalia have been largely coordinated and led by Kenyans. This makes the figure 25% a very important standpoint which begs the question “Is 25% of Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen Movement Fighters in Gedo and Juba Kenyans?” The number could be lower though.