Last updated: June 2022
Al-Shabaab targets and carries out attacks and assassinations on members of Somali government or SNA and other individuals perceived to have links with the government and/or international actors.
Following the religious doctrine of Al-Shabaab, the Somali government is considered as illegitimate and as acting outside the boundaries of Islamic laws. When referring to Somali federal or local government officials and those allied with the state, Al-Shabaab uses the terms non-Muslims, apostates (murtad) or infidels (kafir). Individuals associated with the Somali government or the military can be targeted, punished, killed or humiliated, no matter where they live. Although low-ranking government officials may not generally be a priority target for Al-Shabaab, there have been reported attacks and killings of people serving food to a civil servant or washing a soldier’s uniform, etc.
Al-Shabaab has carried out targeted attacks on forces and buildings linked to the government and other facilities in areas controlled by the government, often using IEDs, including IEDs attached to vehicles of civil servants, police and lone army officers, or assassinating such persons with targeted shooting.
Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks targeting civilian infrastructure, including restaurants and hotels. Some hotels, serving as homes or workplaces of senior government officials are, as such, considered by the group as government buildings.
These attacks have occurred in a variety of settings and locations, though most attacks have been reported in urban areas of South-Central Somalia and Puntland, with those targeted having a variety of profiles in terms of rank, function, profession and age.
The sub-profiles of this profile should be read in conjunction with this Overview.