A Shabaab commander lecturing militiamen after their surrender
One of Shabaab’s main radio stations in Somalia has published a report claiming “dozens” of pro-government militiamen in central Somalia hasve surrendered to the al Qaeda branch in recent days. This reportedly occurred in the Galguduud Region, where Shabaab has been able to recapture some towns after Somali and Ethiopian troops withdrew.
Radio Andalus, one of Shabaab’s propaganada radio stations and media outlets, reported that dozens of these fighters surrendered and gave up their weapons to the jihadist group after a recent battle. Additionally, Shahada News, another Shabaab outlet, said that the number of militiamen that surrendered was close to 60. However, in photos released by Radio Andalus, the number appears to be nowhere near that total. It is possible that some militia members were not photographed. The fate of those fighters is not clear.
Shabaab did not indicate it would execute the militia members or attempt to bring them into the fold.
This report comes just a few days after Shabaab claimed it captured Mogokori in the Hiraan Region and the town of Budbud in Galguduud after the aforementioned Somali and Ethiopian troops withdrew from the towns. In Elbur in Galguduud, Ethiopian troops have also been the victim of Shabaab ambushes in recent days, as well. As these forces retreat from towns like Budbud or Mogokori, Shabaab will continue to slip into these locations afterwards and claim control. (See Threat Matrix report, Shabaab captures town in central Somalia.)
With local militias surrendering, who are allied to the government in Mogadishu and African Union forces, this allows Shabaab to further solidify its control of the recently captured areas.
Photos released by Shabaab: