The cost of defection: the consequences of quitting Al-Shabaab

This study investigates defections from the Al-Shabaab insurgency in Somalia. Thirty-two disengaged Al-Shabaab combatants were interviewed about their motivations, grievances, needs, and challenges in relation to the recruitment, defection, and post-defection phases. This paper focuses on post-defec...

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Published in:International journal of conflict and violence
Main Author: Taylor, Christian (Author)
Other Authors: Semmelrock, Tanner (Author); McDermott, Alexandra
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2019
In:International journal of conflict and violence
Year: 2019, Volume: 13, Pages: 1-12
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:This study investigates defections from the Al-Shabaab insurgency in Somalia. Thirty-two disengaged Al-Shabaab combatants were interviewed about their motivations, grievances, needs, and challenges in relation to the recruitment, defection, and post-defection phases. This paper focuses on post-defection challenges, where we found the primary concern to be lack of personal security. Without adequate security, disengaged combatants are vulnerable to being hunted and killed by Al-Shabaab. This significant threat discourages further mass and individual defections. We also found that disengaged combatants joined and defected out of religious zeal, to fight for what they believed to be a holy Islamic cause. This same zeal led them to defect, as they came to believe Al-Shabaab was not obeying the true Islamic faith. Indiscriminate killing by Al-Shabaab disenchants its religiously pious members, creating an opportunity to encourage mass and individual defections. However, if disengaged combatants are not protected from retribution,
ISSN:1864-1385
DOI:10.4119/UNIBI/ijcv.657