by Florian Flade
Twenty years have passed since the last Somali government collapsed and the country was then sucked into a bloody civil war between warlords, pirates, Islamists, foreign occupation forces and African Union Peacekeepers. Today large parts of the country are under the control of the Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahidin Movement – al-Qaida´s franchise in East Africa.
The „African Taliban“ of Al-Shabaab, along with their foreign Jihadi mercenaries, have implemented their hardline version of Shariah-law in many regions of Somalia. Step-by-step the Islamist movement is creating an Islamic State similar to the Afghanistan Emirate of the Taliban in the 1990s. Adulterers are stoned to death, public beheadings and floggings are taking place, movies, alcohol, music and even mobile phone ringtones are banned – women are ordered to wear the face-veil, men are not allowed to shave their beards under Al-Shabaab rule.
Al-Shabaab yesterday announced they are now operating their own TV news channel. „Al-Kataib News“ is now broadcasted in the capital Mogadishu. To celebrate the new propaganda channel, the Islamists aired a video confession of an alleged CIA-spy captured in North of Mogadishu and had allegedly been recruited by the US-intelligence agency in Djibouti in 2004. A statement released by Al-Shabaab claims the man was then publicly executed after confessing to have spied on the mujahidin.
The TV channel operated by the al-Qaida inspired Jihadi organization, is only the latest of many worrying developments in recent months. With the unification of Al-Shabaab and its former rival, the less-radical Hizb Islami group, only a few weeks ago, Somalia is on it a rapid way to become a Taliban-style Islamic State.