As it loses its grip in the Middle East, Daesh is finding a foothold in Somalia, said a bishop who oversees the Catholic Church in the troubled country.
The insurgent group – linked to mass killings, abductions and beheadings in Iraq and Syria, where it is facing defeat – see Somalia as a suitable base due to its lawlessness, said Bishop Giorgio Bertin, apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia.
“I think they have chosen Somalia because there is no central authority. The country also represents a good possibility for them to continue their search for an Islamic state or, at least, they can continue their ideology without many obstacles,” Bishop Bertin told Catholic News Service.
Somalia has experienced chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew President Mohammed Siad Barre. The conflict remains one of Africa’s longest civil wars.
But in 2006, the war took a different twist with the emergence of the al-Shabab extremist group, which swept across the country, enforcing a radical form of Shariah (Islamic law). Since then, the country has served as the traditional base for the militants who are the al-Qaida network affiliate in East Africa.
Picture: A member of the Somali armed forces carries her ammunition during fighting in 2017 between the military and police backed by intelligence forces in Mogadishu. (CNS photo/Feisal Omar, Reuters).