The photo offers a rare look into jihadist governance in the Sahel, in which jihadists loyal to both al Qaeda and the Islamic State wield both direct and indirect control over many rural areas.
Shabaab has controlled the central Somali town of Bacaadweyne for over a month thanks to a forced political deal with the local clan.
Mozambique, however, claims the fighting is still ongoing for control over the city. If its capture is confirmed, this is the second major town to fall under the control of the Islamic State’s local wing.
Almost 300 people have been killed in a series of mass killings in Niger and on a military position inside Mali. The Islamic State has officially claimed just one of the attacks, but it is believed to have carried out all of the massacres.
Both wings collectively represent the Islamic State’s Central African Province, which the UN recently noted as one of the Islamic State’s most ‘dependable’ affiliates.
Shabaab says it freed more than 400 prisoners from the central prison of Bosaso in northern Somalia, however, this number remains unconfirmed. The group also reiterates that prison assaults are one of its main goals in its fight against the Somali state.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has sent a message of support to its fellow al Qaeda branch for recently killing five French soldiers.
The governor of Kenya’s Mandera County recently stated that Shabaab is controlling “over 50 percent’ of northern Kenya and “more than 60 percent” of Mandera. Kenyan authorities have quickly scrambled to contradict these claims.