ISIS on Calls Al-Shabaab Defectors to Join Its Expansion Into Africa


ISIS has released a new video calling on its “Somalian brothers” to abandon Al-Shabaab and join the Islamic State as it prepares to expand into Africa.

Al-Shabaab, which is traditionally affiliated with Al-Qaeda, has reportedly already split with a small faction pledging its allegiance to the Islamic State. Concern has been raised the split could reinforce ISIS’ efforts to expand into the Horn of Africa and expand across the continent.


A call to unite

Reports of Al-Shabaab fighters gradually pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State have been circulating for quite some time now. And this looks like a rejuvenated effort by ISIS to establish ties with Al-Shabaab fighters, who would bring territorial gains to its cause.

The video doesn’t only call out to those who have made the shift towards ISIS already, though, but also to those still loyal to Al-Qaeda.

“We call upon you to put aside your pride and your arrogance and your blind following of some of your leaders who lack wisdom,” one militant says in the video.


Plans for expansion

The Islamic State has gained large territories in parts of Iraq and Syria, plus smaller sections of Afghanistan and Libya over recent years. However, it has failed to take control in any parts of the Horn of Africa, where it remains keen to expand. Joining up with former Al-Shabaab fighters would give it a starting ground to base its expansion into East Africa and other parts of the continent.

Reinforcements for dissident Al-Shabaab troops would be a major boost in its battle against Al-Qaeda loyalists who have acted aggressively against them. The ISIS video condemns Al-Shabaab members for “spilling the blood of Muslims” in their attacks against those who have shifted allegiance.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.