This report provides an important insight into how those areas of Somalia under al-Shabab’s control are governed.

Source: Hiraal Institute

Education is a key element of the Islamists’ control of the areas it operates in and vital for its recruitment of fighters: “With no other view to counter the AS narrative, they become the ideal ideological fighters for the group.”

Below is an extract of the report. The full report is here: Education in Al-Shabab

Education al-Shabab

In late 2016, Al-Shabab banned Somali – style Islamic schools known as Dugsi Quran that it does not control in  its  territory.

Instead,  it created  an  Islamic educational  system  that is directly  run by the group, and known as ‘the Islamic institutes’ by its subjects.

The Islamic schools are based on clan  boundaries and  paid for  by  clansmen, under  strict  supervision by  local  district waali (district commissioner) and Hesba (AS police). Clans are allocated quotas of children aged 8 – 15 that they have to hand over to the special institutes that AS creates for each clan and also pay for the education provided.

For instance, in late 2017, a clan living in the area of Baidoa  was told to create  a second  institute  and pay  50k  USD – paid annually – and  provide 100  children  to  be  taught ‘Islam’.

Clan elders are forced to see to it that their fellow clansmen pay the money and hand  over  the assigned  number  of pupils.

Elders  that refuse  or  are seen  to  be slow  to  respond have been imprisoned, according to defectors…

Children  are  indoctrinated in  the  Islamic institutes and  made to  understand  current affairs through  a  Jihadi worldview…

Most children graduate within two  years,  with many  being  sent directly  to  a training  camp  if they  have  passed age  15, the Islamic age of maturity.

According to a former child soldier who defected from AS, many of the  children are  recruited  without the  knowledge  of their  parents  and without  being  allowed to bid them farewell.  Some  children are  coerced  into joining  military  training camps,  and  defectors have  said  that many of  these  children are  among  the most  ideological  and fanatical  fighters  they have encountered.

This  is  because the children  have only  been  schooled in  the  AS system  and  have not been given an opportunity to hear an opposing argument.

With no other view to counter the AS narrative, they become the ideal ideological fighters for the group.

Indicative  of its  severe  manpower problems, AS  has used  children  who have  not  yet graduated from its religious schools to fight battles.