Shabaab promotes ‘newly established’ Islamic police


Hisba [Islamic Police]: Commission of the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice

Radio Andalus, a Shabaab media outlet, has released photos proclaiming to show a “newly established” Islamic police force in the town of Jilib, which is under the control of Shabaab in Somalia’s Middle Jubba region.

The propaganda outlet makes clear the this force is “not an armed force” but only to “encourage people and to prohibit wrongdoing.” It also says that the role of the Hisba (Islamic police) to “protect the quality of food and medicine and clothing in the market and all products in the markets.” Shabaab also shows the ID cards of the new members, highlighting that the oldest is 48 and the youngest 24 and all from the same region of Somalia.

While most international attention is on the Islamic State’s attempted governance in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda branches, like Shabaab, are largely doing the same in areas they control in other locations. Shabaab conducts its own Sharia courts, instructs Islamic police, education and taxation systems, proclaims “states” and even installs shadow governors for these “states” in Somalia. Where the federal government and African Union forces fail to provide governance, Shabaab has stepped in to fill the void in many places.

In a video released for Eid last month, the jihadist group outlined several “Islamic Wilayaat [provinces]” in Somalia. These include Jubba, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Bay and Bokool, Hiraan, and Galgudud. While Shabaab claimed new territory in central and northern Somalia, most of its control is situated in the southern half of the country. Shabaab’s emir, Abu Ubeydah Ahmed Omar, also released a video last month in which he sent a message to his “governors,” reminding them of their duties. The message is also filled with Qur’anic verses meant to disparage the Islamic State and its enactment of Sharia.

Photos released by Shabaab showing its Islamic police in Jilib:







Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Chris says:

    “The propaganda outlet makes clear the this force is “not an armed force”

    (IMHO) those ol’boys are packing concealed, photo’s 3 and 4.

    So I call BS, just sayin

  • laurent le bloa says:

    One should not let deceived: It is pure propaganda and mediatic war. They are aiming to counter in the media the efforts of the UNO and the TFG to restore in Somalia law generally and State in particular. Al Shabaab has an organization structured on a military model and always had an Islamic Police ( hizba) and a organization to collect the taxes (al zakawat). Under “legal” forms it is only criminal acts.
    From the beginning of the Afghanistan War some intellectuals want to convince themself in a “romantic” vision of the Islamists that the cohabitation is possible. Today still more than yesterday the only purpose of these movements is the control of the People and its resources to lead their terrorist actions.and not at all the people’s welfare.
    Al Shabaab to finance, as any rebel movements, criminal militias and even sometimes the unpaid somalian soldiers, rob the civilians, establish checkpoints and even have besieged ceratinent cities. Their methods “to convince” people to pay their taxes are violent. The control of the Piracy also had been an important source of funding for the Al Shabaab movement. The use of Islamic Police is only terrorize and keep under control the population.
    In the areas where Al Shabaab is less powerful, the populations desapprove, including in fightong the members of the Zkawat who ransom them. The 10 pourcent tax on the cattle which ask Al Shabaab puts seriously in danger the nomadic shepherds by depriving them of their only resource. It is necessary to understand that those armed militia are feeding themself with the people’s livestock. The Shabaab militias wich operate in the countryside take any cattlel as the goats and the sheeps but also the camels.
    Al Shabaab movement also uses those pictures to convince the Somalians that the all territory is under their control.The SNA and the UAMISOM are not enough numerous to control the whole territory, in particular in the South. And we also note an increase of the activity of the others purely criminal militias which operate in thecaccum places where there are no Al Shabaab nor UAMISOM troops.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    Shabaab claims their religious police are from Somalia, but why are their ID’s written in Arabic? Somali is written in the latin alphabet like the 2nd pic from the top painted on a shop.

    • laurent le bloa says:

      As the arabic is the quran language, it’s used as an outlook to comply to Islam. However religious leaders claim AlShabaab is not legitimate to collect zakat even less to benefit of it. Quran clearly indicates the personn who can collect and receive zakat: Poor people, the needy, those who collect the zakat under the control of the government without receiving wage, those whose hearts are to gain in the Islam, to liberate slaves, those who are heavily put into debt, in the path of Allah, and for the traveler in distress.By its owns count Al Shabaab in 2014 collected $9 million worth of livestock (6,500 camels, 100,000 goats and 2,500 cattle) as annual alms to distribute to people who are suffering from drought in southern and central Somalia, but residents in those areas say they received no such donations

  • irebukeu says:

    OK, so get the drones ready and call the local version of 9-1-1.


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