Clan pays $108,000 as compensation for deaths of militants in Somalia
KUNYO-BARROW, Somalia - For the last decade, Al-Shabaab has been wreaking havoc in Central and Southern Somalia, where it's undoubtedly in control, despite a concerted effort by the military to flushing them out, but the group has often strategized on how to expand territories.
One of the major factors that make Al-Shabaab still relevant in Somalia is the fact that the group collects revenue either in form of Zakat or through various fines including ransom, which they use for among others, paying fighters and purchasing weapons.
And last week, the group announced one of the incidents in Kunyo-Barrow, a town in Lower Shabelle where a clan paid $108,000 for the death of two of its fighters. The group's courts usually decide on such issues in the community whenever deaths occur.
Through pro-group media outlets, Al-Shabaab said elders from the Mudullod clan paid $54,000 for each of the Al-Shabaab fighters who were killed in 2020 during tribal fighting.
In Kunyo-Barrow alone, the US military conducted close to ten airstrikes last year, downing senior commanders responsible for many deaths in the country. The US Africa Command has since withdrawn but closely works with Danab Special Forces.
But multiple sources say the two fighters were shot dead while attempting to broker a truce between two rival clan militia in Lower Shabelle. The two Al-Shabaab fighters belonged to the Garre clan in Lower Shebelle, Al-Shabaab media affiliates noted.
As part of its strategy to portray itself as a legitimate government, Al-Shabaab militants have often tried to solve local conflicts, thus projecting themselves as an alternative government in Somalia. At times, they even supply food to the starving local community.
Al-Shabaab media outlets posted photos of Mudullod elders handing over cash to them on Sunday. Kunyo-Barrow is only 60KM from Barawe, a town controlled by Somali security forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] mainly from the UPDF.
Elders who spoke to Al-Shabaab media outlets said the money was in compliance with Al-Shabaab's court verdict which ruled that the clan pay $108,000 as compensation for the incident. The militants usually have some master-class respect for the elders across Somalia.
According to Elder Arabow of Mudullod, who spoke during the event on Sunday, Al-Shabaab then called on elders and Mudullod businessmen to make the payment in not more than a year period. This is why the money was paid in two installments, he added.
Haji Abdullahi, an elder from the Garre clan, said that they received the money from the Mudullod clan elders who honored the al-Shabaab court ruling. Such transactions are carried in presence of clan elders due to their status in the community.
Al-Shabaab often imposes strict measures on the local clans including the imposition of hefty fines for the death of its fighters when killed by clan militias. Clan representatives pay the fines by collecting cash from businesses in exchange for their own safety and that of their families.
Two years ago, an Al-Shabaab court demanded payment of USD100,000 from a hotel in Mogadishu after its armed guards allegedly shot dead an Al-Shabaab fighter who escaped Somali government security forces in Mogadishu.
Although the group remains seriously degraded, it still has the capacity to carry small to large-scale sporadic attacks in Somalia and across the borders. For the last one week, the militants have suffered huge losses in the Middle and Lower Shabelle following an operation instigated by the Somali National Army [SNA].