Tag: al shabaab

My Son the Jihadi

How did a perfectly normal British teenager end up fighting in Somalia as a recruit for the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Al Shabaab?

Peter Beard’s documentary “My Son the Jihadi” follows the life of traumatized mother Sally as she struggles to come to terms with her estranged son’s transformation from a ‘normal teenage lad’ to Abdul Hakim, the violent Islamic extremist. Through this lens, we see a mother who is torn between the love for her child and a disgust at his actions in a faraway land. She admits, “I’m ashamed of him, but he’s still my son”.

The World’s Largest Refugee Camp is Closing

The Kenyan government is constructing a timetable to close all refugee camps due to security concerns. About 600,000 people will be displaced– some of which have spent decades or even their entire lives in the camps.

The Dadaab camp lies along the Somali border; the Kenyan government claims Islamists are using the camp to launch attacks in Nairobi. Kenya’s camps host refugees from neighboring war-torn countries Sudan and Somalia. The Kenyan government has tried to close the camps before. In 2013 they abandoned the original plan after the UN told them they can’t forcibly return refugees to their home countries. Despite Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgency, Kenya has been successfully attempting to relocate a portion of their camps’ Somalian refugees voluntarily. Once given refugee status, a person cannot be forcibly returned to their homeland unless the situation has improved. According to Kenya, the situation in Somalia has improved. Whether it has improved enough to allow Kenya to forcibly return refugees is still up in the air.

Along with relocating refugees and closing the camps, Kenya is constructing a wall along the Somali border. The Kenyan government claims the wall is intended to minimize attacks in Kenya by al-Shabaab and hopefully keep out an insurgency. If Kenya is ultimately forced to keep their refugee camps open, the security wall would be a convenient solution to limit the amount of new (or returning) refugees entering the country. Also, if Kenya is constructing a wall to prevent violence overflowing from Somalia, the situation in Somalia probably hasn’t improved enough for them to forcibly return refugees.