Al-Shabaab expands into Kenya

Somali radical Islam insurgents are making their own explosives, according to a confidential U.N. report explaining their frequent and deadly attacks.

The Somali al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabab extends attacks beyond borders, by recruiting new members outside Somali clans, luring them with promises of money and gifts.

In the beginning of this year an assault on an office and hotel complex in Nairobi (Kenya), was the first to be led by non-ethnic Somalis since al-Shabab began major cross-border operations in 2010.

Ali Salim Gichunge, nicknamed Farouk (26) leading Nairobi attacks was a Kenyan who attended a Catholic school and whose mainly Christian ethnic group Meru has no ties to Somalia.

Farouk is by no means exception among a growing number of Kenyans with no ethnic links to Somalia recruited by the militants in recent years, according to relatives, security officials and analysts.

Widespread poverty and unemployment create a nourishing ground for al-Shabaab recruiters offering cash or even just promises of work, researchers who interviewed defectors from the group report. The relatives of the young men said, even small gifts would work for engaging them.

“In the past, the security forces concentrated their efforts in parts of the country that are Muslim majority, Muslim-dominated,” said Murithi Mutiga, a project director for the International Crisis Group think-tank, he added that, “now it’s much harder because al-Shabab has shown its adaptability by recruiting from outside the traditional areas.”

As well al-Shabab has expanded its operations from Somalia into East Africa, where it has hit high-profile targets, such as the offices of Western multinational companies.

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