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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Somalia Islamist Update

Well-informed analysts estimate that al-Shabaab has somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 fighters in and around Mogadishu, at least one-third of whom have had advanced training from its foreign jihadist allies, who apparently exercise a great deal of control over them. In addition, al-Shabaab has up to 6,000 fighters scattered around the country.

The group also has anywhere between 500 and 1,500 foreign jihadists who have flocked to its banner from as far away as Nigeria and Pakistan as well as several hundred Somalis from the diaspora.

Hisbul Islam’s organization is more clan-based, with perhaps as up to 5,000 fighters around the capital, the majority of whom hail from the Hawiye clan of Habar Gidir, and perhaps as many as 3,000 elsewhere in the southern and central Somalia. Although only about 10 percent of Hisbul Islam’s forces have had advanced training, most of those more skilled fighters are deployed in or close to Mogadishu, thus increasing their impact.

The Ahlu Sunna wal-Jama’a (roughly, “[Followers of] the Traditions and Consensus [of the Prophet Muhammad]”) militias opposing al-Shabaab in the central regions have maybe several thousand members, but most of these are clansmen mustered on an ad hoc basis, rather than a standing force, notwithstanding Ethiopian efforts to train and assist them. In contrast, the TFG claims to have 5,000 troops, although that figure is inflated with clan militiamen it manages to hire from time to time and over whom it has no effective control.

The Rest from Dr. Peter Pham @ FamilySecurity Matters

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Shimron Issachar

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