In the recent weeks al-Shabaab have suffered major losses on their side mainly inflicted by airstrikes and ground combat ambushes on their training camps and positions in various parts of Somalia. The high number of dead militants has thus triggered a fresh wave of infighting and tensions between local and foreign fighters leading to a heightened number of executions and persecutions of militants especially foreign fighters.
Sources reveal that the levels of defections and returns of foreign fighters especially those from the East African region have surged. Returnees have maintained that Kenyan and other foreign fighters in Somalia are seeking to return to their home countries as a way to escape the maltreatment and persecution they face within the al Shabaab ranks.
While the fighters are lured with the promise of a good life and equal opportunities as they fight for a principal agenda, foreigners have suffered major betrayal and brutal treatment by their Somali counterparts.
For instance, foreign fighters are forced to take part in the high-risk tasks and responsibility and as such bare, the heaviest loses. They are used as test subjects for new untested weapons like bombs, IEDs, Landmines, grenades and any other form of explosive. Additionally, they are set to the front line in war, attacks or ambushes which increases their chances of being killed.
Foreign fighters are executed without free and fair trial on mere speculation. They are further accused of collaborating with the intelligence services of their home countries which is punished through death by a firing squad. Therefore, returnees and defectors have warned new recruits especially in the east African region against joining the al Shabaab a move that has reduced the number of foreign fighters within al Shabaab greatly.