The Regional Commissioner for Kenya’s North Eastern Province (NEP), Ambassador Mohamud Saleh issued a statement confirming the surrender of a Female Jihadists identified as Mumina Eroba to security officers. Saleh, a former diplomat has become the tower of hope in Countering Violent Extremism in the Frontier prefecture of Kenya. The Jihadist, a member of the Somali Extremists group, Shabaab Mujahideen was accompanied by another female identified as a spouse/wife to a terrorist identified as Abdiwahab Osman Ahmed. Osman has been profiled as a son to female jihadist Mumina Eroba, (another case of a family engaging in terrorism, Ref.Surabaya Bombings).
- S.I Analyzed this rare event from a counter terrorism lens. There’s very little data on what factors defections and surrenders of terrorists operatives. In fact, most of the data and research found out that a significant number of returnees and defectors were reactivated to engage in violent extremism after getting pardons and rehabilitation (atypical sleeper cells). This can be referred to as a clandestine deployment of terrorists sleeper cells and not defection or surrender. Interestingly though, S.I data doesn’t condemn returnees and defectors wholly rather classifies them as terrorists with limited purposes to the terrorist organization based on the list of factors they confess prompted either defection or surrender.
- The lack of purpose coupled by both lack of financial assistance and a decline in inspiration (motivation, contact with parent cell commanders, and being tasked) prompts feelings of worthlessness in the cell (lack of direct and regular engagement forestalls feelings of purposefulness). Feelings-thoughts of sheer lack of purpose, betrayal by the jihadist’s organization, culminate to remorse and hatred to the organization prompting the cohort to have positive perspectives towards the enemy of the terrorists group (enemy turns into friend). Such cohorts are easy to debrief. They provide counter terrorism experts troves of vital data including names, locations, recruitment networks, contact details, plans, and objectives of the terrorist organization.
- As such, the surrender of a terrorist to authorities is rare and worth feting. On the other hand it has catastrophic ramifications to the terrorist organization. The organization networks in the area must speedily dismantle and deactivate (and during the hasty process, intelligence operatives can detect and out them). Worse, they have to stop and decommission communications networks and assets to ensure they aren’t compromised.
Summarily, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia suffered a major setback after its female operative Mumina Eroba surrendered to Kenyan authorities on 20th June 2018. Mumina and her son have been on the Police Wanted list over terrorism. Mumina was to be deployed by the Al-Shabaab as a suicide bomber. Intelligence services in Kenya unearthed the plot and thwarted it by compromising the operative.