Somali al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabaab is recruiting scores of militants from Kenya, reports Nairobi TV (NTV). The media organization's recent undercover investigation also indicates the terrorist group has infiltrated the Kenyan military.
Al-Shabaab has waged war against Sheikh Sherif Ahmed's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia since 2006, conducting suicide bombings and guerrilla assaults against the government and its foreign allies in Somalia. Recent offensives by the Somali government have carved out a new territory from the terrorist organization's holdings.
"Facing a huge armed onslaught in Somalia, al-Shabaab was aggressively recruiting," the report stated, referencing Kenyan intelligence officials from the National Security Intelligence Services (NSIS). "The criteria had since expanded from young Somalis and Arabs to just about anyone who was committed to the cause—from any background."
The report showed how impoverished, religious youths in the region lack stability in their lives and can become attracted to al-Shabaab's radical brand of Islam.
The undercover investigation also indicated some Kenyan military personnel were supporting al-Shabaab. Corporal Hussein Abdullahi Athan, a member of the Kenyan military, actively recruits for the terrorist group in Isiolo, a city deep within the heart of Kenya, hundreds of miles from the Somali border. Athan also claimed that multiple Kenyan outposts—where Somali TFG forces were supposedly being trained by the Kenyan army—were actually being used to train al-Shabaab fighters.
Additionally, a Kenyan heads an al-Shabaab battalion fighting in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the Nation reported.
The Somali government has readily acknowledged the need to combat this phenomenon. "We are aware of Kenyans who have been recruited by al Shabaab [sic.]," Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed stated in an interview with the Nation, "but we will vanquish them."
Likewise, Kenya's government has taken steps to crack down on the terrorists. "Anyone who has gotten himself or herself [involved], no matter where he comes from, will face the law," stated Kenyan Provincial Police Officer Aggrey Adoli in a recent Nairobi Star report. "These individuals must be treated as terror criminals."
Additionally, Adoli made clear that training, recruiting or taking Kenyans to Somalia to join al-Shabaab would result in terrorism charges. He emphasized that Kenyans who fail to report recruiters would also be treated as criminals.