Ex-Shabaab tell of cruelty, betrayal

2012-07-11 22:23


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Mogadishu - Somalia military officials say defections from the militant group al-Shabaab are accelerating as Somali and African Union troops take new territory around Mogadishu.

Militants who abandon al-Shabaab risk retaliatory assassinations from fighters still loyal to the militia. A government-run program in Mogadishu houses several hundred former fighters, many of them teenagers. The programme provides meals, housing and courses on patriotism, anti-violence and religion.

Defector Mohamed Saeed, 18, said militants didn't dare share plans about defecting with even their closest battlefield friends. Trust, he said, could get you killed.

As al-Shabaab has lost its profit centers - the markets in Mogadishu the militants once taxed, for example - life on the battlefield became harder. Saeed said fighters often ate only one meal a day.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  somalia  |  east africa

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