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Appendix C – Statement of Reasons – Al-Shabaab
(Also known as: Al-Shabaab
Al-Islaam; Al-Shabaab al-Islamiya; Al-Shabaab Al-Jihaad; Al-Shabab;
Ash-shabaab; Harakat Al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen; Harakat Shabab Al-Mujahidin;
Harakatul Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin; Hizbul Shabaab; Hisb’ul Shabaab; HSM;
Mujahideen Youth Movement; Mujahidin Al-Shabaab Movement; Mujaahidiin Youth
Movement; Mujahidin Youth Movement; Shabaab; MYM; The Popular Resistance
Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations; The Unity of Islamic Youth; The
Youth; Young Mujahideen Movement; Young Mujahideen Movement in Somalia, Youth
information is based on publicly available details about Al-Shabaab. To the
Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have
been corroborated by classified information.
Basis for listing
a terrorist organisation
Division 102 of the Criminal
Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist
organisation, the Attorney-General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that
(a) is directly or
indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the
doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occurred or will
(b) advocates the doing of
a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occurred or will occur).
Details of the
or ‘the youth’, is the name generally applied to the Somali militant group
which was formerly the most prominent of the militia groups comprising the
militant wing of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC). The Somali Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) and Ethiopian forces ousted the CIC in December 2006.
The TFG has governed Somalia since the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces in January
2009 and in June 2011 unilaterally extended its mandate to govern until August
2012 when elections are scheduled.
objective is the establishment of an Islamic state in Somalia, based on Islamic
law and the elimination of foreign ‘infidel’
influence. In pursuance of this objective, Al-Shabaab has conducted a violent
insurgency against the TFG, and foreign forces supporting the TFG. Al-Shabaab
seeks the creation of an ‘Islamic Emirate of Somalia’, to include Somalia,
Somaliland, Puntland, north-eastern Kenya, the Ogaden region of Ethiopia and
an increasingly loose leadership structure with a number of regional factions
and commanders. Factional disputes have been reported between Al‑Shabaab’s
senior commanders over strategy and ideology.
Omar Hammami, a senior foreign fighter, released a video on the
weekend of 17 March 2012 stating he felt his “life may be endangered by Harakat
al- Mujahadeen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding
matters of Shariah and matters of strategy”.
Spokesman Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, aka Abu Mansur, was replaced by
Sheikh Ali Muhammad Rage in May 2009.
encompasses a number of elements, ranging from those focused solely on the
domestic insurgency in Somalia to elements that support al-Qa’ida’s global jihadist
ideology. Estimates of Al-Shabaab fighters vary from 3 000 to as high
as 7 000, with most members being ethnic Somalis. Al-Shabaab has long
recruited members from Kenya. However, a small number of Al-Shabaab fighters
are from other countries including the US and Canada.
Since the January 2009 Ethiopian withdrawal, Al-Shabaab
has established itself as the pre-eminent terrorist actor in Somalia and
demonstrated its intent and capability to conduct terrorist attacks within and
- On 11 July 2010 Al-Shabaab conducted a mass
casualty coordinated suicide bomb attack in Uganda’s capital Kampala,
killing 76 people.
- On 4 October 2011 more than 100 civilians were
killed when an Al-Shabaab suicide bomber attacked a government building in
has continued its violent insurgency against TFG, Ethiopian and more recently,
Kenyan forces inside Somalia and the border regions of Kenya. It has
also carried out attacks against peacekeeping forces from Uganda and Burundi,
who are in Somalia under the aegis of the AMISOM. The group’s senior leadership
has said Al-Shabaab will continue to fight foreign forces in Somalia, and the
Although Al‑Shabaab suffered personnel and territorial losses to African
Union (AU) mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in the first six months of 2011,
the group continues to present an enduring threat to East Africa—and to AMISOM
and the TFG in particular.
Al -Shabaab’s propaganda has also continued to
develop, with the group’s media campaign increasing in sophistication,
including starting a Twitter account and continuing to spread its message
through Radio al-Analus.
activity of the organisation
Directly or indirectly engaged in
the doing of terrorist acts; and directly or indirectly preparing and/or
planning terrorist acts
Al-Shabaab has prepared, planned and conducted
frequent attacks since the beginning of 2007against Ethiopian and TFG forcesusing mortar attacks, rocket-propelled grenades and firearms in these
attacks. During 2007, elements of Al-Shabaab
adopted tactics used by Islamist militants in Afghanistan and Iraq including
the employment of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), roadside
bombs, suicide attacks and beheadings. Suicide-vehicle bombings in
October 2008 in Hargeysa and Boosaaso, northern Somalia, were also widely
attributed to Al-Shabaab.
claims of attacks sometimes appear in internet statements in the name of the
Young Mujahideen Movement in Somalia (YMMS), an Al-Shabaab alias. There have been numerous statements claiming attacks
including attempted assassinations of TFG officials, and against TFG security
forces and Ethiopian forces in Mogadishu and surrounding areas.
attacks for which responsibility has been claimed by or reliably attributed to
October 2011: at least three AMISOM peacekeepers were killed and an
unknown number of others wounded when two Al-Shabaab suicide bombers,
including a United States (US) national, detonated explosives at an AMISOM
base in the Warshadaha Road area of Mogadishu.
October 2011: more than 100 civilians were killed and dozens wounded when
an Al-Shabaab militant detonated a suicide VBIED targeting a building
housing several government ministries in the K4 area of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab
spokesman Ali Muhammad Rage subsequently claimed responsibility for the
attack and stated: "We are promising that attacks against the enemy
will be routine, more in number, and will increase day by day".
October 2011: French national Marie Dedieu, was kidnapped by suspected Al-Shabaab
militants from the island of Manda in Kenya's Lamu Archipelago, near the
Somalia border was and then taken to Somalia. In mid-October, French
intelligence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials announced she had
died in captivity in Somalia, likely due to illness.
June 2011: TFG Minister of the Interior, Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan, was
killed in Mogadishu when a female Al-Shabaab suicide bomber detonated her
explosive vest inside his residence.
September 2010: at least 14 people—including at least five militants—were
killed during a sophisticated multi-mode attack on Mogadishu airport
utilising VBIEDs, suicide vests and small arms. Among the victims were
four Somali police officers, two Ugandan peacekeepers, and three
civilians. An Al-Shabaab statement the following day claimed the attack
had targeted a high-level meeting of UN, AU and Somali representatives.
August 2010: two Al-Shabaab suicide bombers dressed in army uniforms
carried out a small-arms assault on the Muna Hotel near the Presidential
Palace in Mogadishu, before detonating their devices. A total of 31 people
were reportedly killed, including six members of parliament and five TFG
July 2010: Al-Shabaab carried out a co-ordinated twin suicide bomb attack
in the Ugandan capital Kampala. A total of 76 people were killed when the
devices were detonated at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant, both
of which were crowded with people watching the FIFA World Cup final.
January 2010: an Al-Shabaab-linked individual attempted to kill Danish
cartoonist Kurt Westergaard at his home in Denmark in retaliation to
publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed. Westergaard was not hurt
and the assailant was shot, wounded, and arrested.
December 2009: an Al-Shabaab suicide bomber killed 21 people—including
four TFG ministers—in an attack on a medical school graduation ceremony
being held at the Shamo Hotel in Mogadishu.
September 2009: 21 people—including 17 AMISOM peacekeepers—were killed
and 40 others injured when Al-Shabaab militants detonated two SVBIEDs at
the AMISOM headquarters in Mogadishu.The deputy commander of the base was
among those killed and the base commander was injured.
Advocating the doing of terrorist acts
Al-Shabaab members have publicly advocated terrorist
attacks in order to further the group’s objectives:
December 2011 an Al-Shabaab spokesperson vowed that the terror group would
launch retaliatory attacks in Kenya if authorities did not withdraw troops from
Somalia. "Kenya has peace, its cities have tall buildings and business is
flourishing there. If your government ignores our calls to stop its aggression
on Somali soil, we will strike at the heart of your interests".
November 2011 Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage warned "We are telling Kenya that
they still have the opportunity to back away from the hellfire it was dragged
into and leave our soil, otherwise they will continue suffering".
Ali—an Al-Shabaab suicide bomber—published a martyrdom video prior to killing
himself on 29 October 2011 in Mogadishu stating "my brothers and sisters,
do Jihad in America, do Jihad in Canada, do Jihad in England [and] anywhere in
Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia — anywhere you find kuffar
[infidels]. Fight them and be firm against them”.
the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses Al-Shabaab continues to
directly and/or indirectly engage in conducting, preparing, planning,
assisting, advocating or fostering the doing of terrorist acts involving threats to
human life and serious damage to property. This assessment is corroborated by
information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.
the course of pursuing its objectives, Al-Shabaabis known
to have committed or threatened action:
the intention of advancing Al-Shabaab’s political,
religious or ideological causes;
causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons
or endanger a person’s life; and
the intention of creating a serious risk to the safety of sections of the
Other relevant information
Links with other
is linked to al-Qa’ida through leadership contacts and training. While Al-Shabaab
likely still largely operates independently, al-Qa’ida senior leadership
previously has endorsed some Al-Shabaab activities. On 9 February 2012 a public
statement by Al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu al-Zubair included a pledge of
allegiance to al-Qa’ida and in a reciprocal message al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al‑Zawahiri
announced that Al-Shabaab had joined al-Qa’ida.
Links to Australia
In late 2011 Al-Shabaab-linked
Australian citizens Saney Edow Aweys and Nayef El Sayed were convicted of
conspiring to plan a terrorist attack in Australia. Aweys was also convicted of
aiding and abetting another person to engage in hostile activities in Somalia
under s6 of the Commonwealth Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act
1978 in December 2010. Australian citizen Hussein Hashi Farah was also
implicated in terrorist activity associated with Al-Shabaab.
participation in peace negotiations/political dialogue -
Al-Shabaab does not
participate in the Somali political system, despite AMISOM appeals to the group
to lay down their arms and join the Somali peace process.
The group was listed
as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of the United States
in March 2008, New Zealand in February 2010, Canada in March 2010, the United
Kingdom in May 2010, and by the European Union in April 2010.
Al-Shabaab is also
included in the DFAT Consolidated List that refers to United Nations Security
Council Resolution 1373 and in the Consolidated List UN751(Somalia and
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