ICC Note: In an attempt to radicalize moderates and continue the fight against “infidels” in Kenya, radical Islamic terror group al-Shabaab has taken over predominantly Muslim villages in the country’s northeast for hours at a time to preach to and recruit new members. While not attacking anyone during these “invasions”, al-Shabaab seeks to display the weakness of the Kenyan government in protecting them. In order to retaliate against Kenya for its involvement in combating the terror group in Somalia, al-Shabaab seeks to incite sectarian violence within Kenya to destabilize the nation. Because of this, al-Shabaab not only proves to be a threat to the lives of Christians through major attacks like the one that took place at Garissa University in April, but also through sectarian violence caused by radicalizing Muslims where they predominate in concentrated pockets in Kenya.
7/26/15, Kenya (Foreign Affairs) – On May 19, members of the Somali terrorist group al Shabab entered Hulugho village in eastern Kenya and herded all the villagers they could find into a mosque. Al Shabab has entered Kenyan towns before, usually in a frenzy of murder and arson, before withdrawing into the bush. Hulugho seemed set to suffer a similar fate.
This time, however, the gunmen merely delivered a two-hour sermon to their captive audience and then left. Three days later, al Shabab fighters occupied the village of Yumbis for eight hours, the group’s spokesman claims. About a month ago, fighters repeated the process in Mangai village, forcing villagers into a mosque for a haranguing before leaving without harming anyone. In Mandera County, the group appears to be routinely occupying and patrolling Warankara village, and then slipping away peacefully.
Since Kenya invaded Somalia in 2011 to root out al Shabab, the group has sought every opportunity to exact revenge, launching about 150 attacks inside the country and vowing not to stop until Kenya withdraws. Entering villages to preach and plant flags is a dramatic departure from this retributive approach, and suggests a strategic shift for the group. It appears al Shabab is now trying to conquer parts of Kenya.