Terrorism & Insurgency

Unbowed and unbroken - Somalia's Al-Shabaab emerges seemingly unscathed following internal purge

25 February 2014

Black smoke rising from the Westgate mall in Nairobi. Photo: PA

Key Points

  • The leader of Somali militant Islamist group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, Ahmad Godane, presided over a major internal purge in mid-2013.
  • In the process, Godane scattered a disparate but unified body of internal opposition, tightening his central command of the group.
  • Al-Shabaab has seemingly emerged more unified and intensified its armed campaign, both domestically and regionally.

Internal ructions during 2012 and early-to-mid 2013 led to a major shift in the composition of the core leadership of Somali militant Islamist group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen. Internal dissent and opposition to the group's emir, Ahmad Abdi Aw Muhammad Godane (alias Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubayr), culminated in a clash between Godane loyalists and Al-Shabaab forces led by deputy emir Ibrahim Haji Jamaa al-Afghani and senior commander Mukhtar Robow Ali (alias Abu Mansur) in Shabeellaha Hoose region in June 2013.

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