Radicalisation and al-Shabaab Recruitment in Somalia

Botha Anneli, Abdile Mahdi (2014):  ISS PAPER 266

Institute for Security Studies, Finn Church Aid, Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers


Effective counter-radicalisation strategies should be based on an empirical understanding of why people join terrorist organisations. Researchers interviewed former al-Shabaab fighters and identified a complex array of reasons for why they joined the organisation. Interviewers developed a profile of typical al-Shabaab recruits and identified factors facilitating their recruitment, including religious identity, socioeconomic
circumstances (education, unemployment), political circumstances and the need for a collective identity and a sense of belonging. The reasons for al-Shabaab’s rise are discussed and recommendations are made to the Somali government, countries in the region and international organisations and donors on how to counter radicalisation and recruitment to al-Shabaab.

The study can be accessed here