Public in regions where terrorism is highly concentrated keep wondering what makes terrorism concentrated there and why do they find themselves pitted against a wily enemy and an unrelenting government?
Studies show terrorism is highly concentrated. This means terrorist organizations thrive in areas that bear certain characteristics such as sociopolitical and socioeconomic challenges (high levels of poverty and illiteracy). Yet, high profile terror attacks are conducted, more often, by highly educated youths while large scale attacks against vulnerable societies in these areas (i.e. borderline villages) are conducted by uneducated ex-criminals conscripted to terrorism.
These scenarios are of great interest to Strategic Intelligence Service Counter-Terrorism Researchers. “We are desperate to identify and understand how and why terrorists influence societies as a means to achieve austerity.
In our studies, we examined perceived Muslim dominated regions of Kenya for a preliminary assessment. The Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen movement (HSM) has attempted to claim that the North Eastern Province of Kenya (NEP) is a Muslim territory. Past research depict this as outbidding or an effort to proclaim land believed to be prehistorically owned by certain cohorts.
After creating the scenario that these regions are prehistorically Muslim, Al-Shabaab Mujahideen has attempted to claim that current governments have persecuted the inhabitants of these regions purposely to malign the communities there with the sole objective of keeping a grip on the lands.
The terrorists upon establishing a social policy (that government is oppressive and marginalizing the locals) attempts to justify protecting the persecuted inhabitants by taking advantage of the poor socioeconomics and low literacy levels. The local youth, often jobless and desperate, are called upon to position themselves as alternative sociopolitical figures responsible of change and end of the oppression.
At this stage, the terrorists use religion and economic stipends to radicalize the youths for the violent cause against regime actors (enlistment and conscription to the terror group membership). Religion (sociological conditions often condition people experiencing or living in poverty stricken regions religiously; In fact, poor people are more religious and that poor people are likely to join a religious cause than economically stable cohorts) is used as the core pillar of the violent cause misconstrued as a liberation effort (Use religion as a pillar to position their militant-religious social policy).
At this stage, Al-Shabaab terrorists have control of the social-aspect of the villages/society and begin a process of intimidation targeting persons/members of this society who show dissent (use of violence to influence behavior of area inhabitants and subsequently influence individuals at grassroots levels of the area). This is why elders, government workers, and educated persons from, living, or working at borderline villages are kidnapped, attacked, or killed by the terrorists (further confirming that terror cells that conduct attacks in certain areas are basically descendants of that area or have vast knowledge of the area through association, or physical inhabitation)
As such, it is correct to argue and assert that terrorists work under a certain set of assumptions and chose certain behaviors to achieve strategic goals. This is how The Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen movement (HSM) has used the strategy of outbidding to gain control of borderline villages.