Report: Number and Clan background of Al-Shabab

Published On: Tuesday, June, 05 2012 - 00:16:46 This post has been viewed 17590 times

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Al Shabab’s popularity in Somalia was 45% last year, but now it is not more than 6%. Most of their economic sources are blocked, such as companies that were supporting them financially are now facing bankruptcy

Mogadishu (Sunatimes) Three month long study, carried out in February 2011 revealed that the total number of Al- Shabab militia was 14,426 foreigners and Somali fighters. In August the same year the number of Al-Shabab fighters shrinked down.

While the.number was 14,426 in February 2011, they are now 7,733 fighters according to the register of their annual head count which Waagacusub media obtained on 3rdJanuary 2012. The number of the fighters of Digil and Mirifle clan that was 4,230 is now 2131 as shown by the register.

Darod Clan had 3,106 in the militia, but that number declined this year to 1,830, mainly from Ogaden and Marehan sub-clans.

Hawiye fighters in Al shabab were 2,401 last year, but according to the register only 846 are remaining with the majority of Murusade and Duduble sub-clans.

Foreigners fighting inside Somalia were numbering 1,982 in the last year, but now the Al Shabab register is showing 1.082 Al-Qaeda fighters are still with Al-Shabab. The Nationalities of those fighters are mainly Kenyans and other African nationals.

Al Shahab leader, Ahmed Godane’s own Clan, Dir, have now 1,126 fighters in Al-Shabab, while last year that number was 1,702 fighters, mainly from his Isaq sub-clan.

Fighters from the minority sub-clans in Al-Shabab were 1,005 in2011. Their majority were students and low income people forced to fight. Al-Shabab register shows that 718 fighters are now active.

Many foreign fighters left Somalia. Most of them went to yemen by boats, while unknown number of them died in the fighting in Somalia. Significant number of Somali fighters also abandoned from Al-Shabab. Most of the Somali fighters were killed by Ahlu-sunna wal Jamaa, TFG/AMISOM, Kenya, and Ethiopian forces. Their easy exit from the Mogadishu battle was a sign of their defeat. Lack of funding made Al-Shabab declare this year their merger with Al-Qaeda which is widely believed that they won’t get much from the latter.

There were Somali youth from diaspora, mainly from North America, UK, and Sweden who are now facing difficulties inside the Al-Shabab camps. The reason is that rules of Al-Qaeda are harsh. Anyone suspected of defection is to be killed.

Al Shabab’s popularity in Somalia was 45% last year, but now it is not more than 6%. Most of their economic sources are blocked, such as companies that were supporting them financially are now facing bankruptcy, Somalis in the diaspora who used to fundraise on behalf of them who were jailed, and the death of Al Qaeda’s chief of East Africa operations Fazul Abdullah Mohamed.

Al-Shabab failed to find market for the Marijuana (Hashish) they grow in Lower Shabelle region. Now their sources of income are Zakawat (Extortion), and the charcoal exported from Kismayo and Barawe ports. If those ports fail, it will for sure be the end of their active operations, but tactically they may carry out suicide attacks inside Somalia at any time.

By Dahir Alasow

Dahir Alasow, A senior Radio and TV journalist, a leader of a press watchdog ASOJ, the editor of,member of European Journalists and outstanding commentator with fearless check on actions of the political groups and others players through investigative journalism, plus defender of the public interest and voice to the voiceless through "the truthful tip of his truth pen"

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