GLOSSARY

A

Adolescence / Adolescents

Definition: “There is no universally accepted definition of adolescence and adolescents. While there is some consensus on the age range of 10–19 (used by UNICEF and the World Health Organization), the Committee on the Rights of the Child urges caution in using this terminology, given variance in cultural, neurological and biological development and prefers to refer to the ages of 10–18 as adolescence.”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019 (p.ix); see also United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 20 (2016) on the implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence 6 December 2016 (CRC/C/GC/20), para 5

African Union (AU)

Definition: African Union, the successor to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2002. It is a union of 54 member states that loosely mirrors the structure of the European Union.

Source(s): “Profile: African Unionhttps://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-16910745” BBC.

 

Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama'a (ASWJ)

Definition: Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama'a (ASWJ) is a clan-based Hawadle militia that opposed Al-Shabaab with some success in the Galmudug region, supported by Ethiopia (until the ascension of Abey in Ethiopia). It has recently come into conflict with the Somali government resulting in frequent clashes and some deaths (including of civilians), despite a series of negotiated settlements that have called for ASWJ’s incorporation into the SNA.

Source(s): “Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca” UCDP.

 

al-Afghani, Ibrahim

Definition: Born Ibrahim Jama Me’aad in the Isaq clan of Somalia. Ibrahim al-Afghani was the ideological founder of Al-Shabaab. Al-Afghani killed in 2013 during an internal purge after he opposed Al-Shabaab’s then-Emir Godane. (For more information, see Al-Afghani’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

 

Al-Ansar

Definition: “The Helpers”, clan militias that Al-Shabaab intermittently calls on to support it in battle. Al-Shabaab is adept at exploiting clan grievances to build temporary alliances with local clans for battles against other clans, and government militaries.

Source(s): Harper, Mary. 2019. Everything You Have Told Me Is True: The Many Faces of Al Shabaab. London, UK: Hurst Co.

 

Al-Barnawi, Abu Musab

Definition: Abu Musab al-Barnawi is the leader of the Islamic State branch of Islamists in Nigeria, known as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Originally the group was a part of Boko Haram, but when the Islamic State promoted al-Barnawi the leader of Boko Haram, Shekau, refused to acknowledge al-Barnawi’s leadership, leading to a separation in the two groups. Al-Barnawi continues to lead the Islamic State-loyalist faction, which is estimated to have between 3,500 and 5,000 fighters.

Source(s): “Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)” United Nations Security Council.

 

al-Hamammi, Omar

Definition: Also known as "Abu Mansour al-Amriki", Famous US-born (Alabama) jihadi who travelled to Somalia, killed in 2014 as part of Al-Shabaab's internal purge (For more information see al-Hamammi’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

 

al-Hijra

Definition: Formerly known as the “Muslim Youth Center” (MYC), al-Hijra is Al-Shabaab’s primary affiliate in Kenya, and their most prominent ally regionally. Over more than a decade they have funnelled thousands of fighters into Somalia and launched countless attacks in Kenya. (For more information see the “Associations” page).

Source(s): Anzalone, Christopher. “Kenya’s Muslim Youth Center and Al-Shabab’s East African Recruitment” CTC Sentinel, October 2012, 5(10): 9-13.

 

al-Itihad-al-Islamiya (AIAI)

 

Definition: al-Itihad-al-Islamiya (AIAI) was Al-Shabaab’s predecessor in the 1990s and an Al-Qaeda affiliate. It was defeated by Ethiopia in 1996. It included many future Al-Shabaab leaders including its first Emir Ayden Ayro, and Mukhtar Robow as well as Hassan Dahir Aweys, Moalim Osman.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018), “AIAI” UCDP.

 

al-Katib

Definition: Al-Shabaab TV and news organization

Source(s): Munene, Macharia. “The Challenge of Al-Shabaab” E-International Relations, February 7, 2012.

 

Alliance for Peace Restoration and Counter-Terrorism (APRCT)

Definition: The Alliance for Peace Restoration and Counter-Terrorism (APRCT) was a US-backed alliance of warlords during the early-mid 2000s, it fought (and lost) against the ICU.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

 

Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS)

Definition: The Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) was a rival militia coalition, led by Hizbul Islam and Aweys.

Source(s): “Analysis: Who is fighting whom in Somalia” The New Humanitarian. September 2, 2009.

 

al-Muhajiroun

Definition: A newer Islamic extremist group in Kenya that emerged in January 2015 and pledged a bayah to Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda. Analysis of the group has found that although “it is not clear what relationship exists between al-Shabaab and al-Muhajiroun, there is no doubt that the group was established to support the former’s attempts at expanding in Kenya and the East African region” (Ndzovu 2017, p.8). (For more information see Al-Shabaab’s Affiliations)

Source(s): Source(s): Ndzovu, Hassan Juma. “The Rise of Jihad, Killing of ‘Apostate Imams’ and Non-Combatant Christian Civilians in Kenya: Al-Shabaab’s Re-Definition of the Enemy on Religious Lines” Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 3.1 (October 2017): 4-20;

 

al-Turkey, Hassan

Definition: Pro-Al-Shabaab leader of HKR and a former member of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). Instrumental in Al-Shabaab’s conquest of Kismayo in 2008. He was sanctioned by the UN in 2010. Believed to have died in 2015.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); Kriel, Robyn. “Al-Shabaab official wanted by U.S. dies in Somalia” CNN. May 28, 2015. “HASSAN ABDULLAH HERSI AL-TURKI” United Nations Security Council.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Definition: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the Arabian peninsula, predominantly Yemen, since 2009, when it emerged from the merger of Al-Qaeda branches in the region including Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It emerged as a major force in Yemen in 2011, but it has been sidelined by the emergence of the Houthi war in September 2014. 

Source(s): “AQAP” UCDP

 

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM)

Definition: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) is the West African affiliate of Al-Qaeda. AQIM has its roots in the Algerian civil war of the 1990s and early 2000s, when a splinter group, the GSPC fractured off and eventually became AQIM, it has spread abroad, and since 2012 it has mainly been located in Mali. For more information, see the Associations page.

Source(s): “AQIM” UCDP. Caleb Weiss The Long War Journal, see additional sources in the Associations section.

 

al-Zawahiri, Ayman 

Definition: Ayman al-Zawahiri was the successor to Osama Bin Laden as head of Al-Qaeda in 2011. al-Zawahiri was born to an upper-middle class Egyptian family in 1951, and by the time he was 15 he was an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a hardline Egyptian Islamic group, for which he was jailed and reportedly tortured by the Egyptian government. After travelling abroad to Saudi Arabia he returned to Egypt in the 1990s where he became the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement, a terrorist group that caused over 1,200 deaths in Egypt. In 1998 he joined Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and has since been one of the group’s most senior leaders. After Bin Laden’s death, al-Zawahiri became the leader of Al-Qaeda and formally accepted Al-Shabaab’s bayah (oath of allegiance) in 2012. He remains the head of Al-Qaeda today and the U.S. has placed a 25 million USD bounty for his arrest.

Source(s): “Profile: Ayman Al-Zawahiri” BBC, August 13, 2015.

 

Amiru’l-Amm

 

Definition: Under Boko Haram’s first leader Mohammed Yusuf the highest position in the group was the Amiru’l-Amm.

Source(s): Kekilli, Emrah; Khayri Omar; Ibrahim Bachir Abdoulaye. “Anatomy of A Terrorist Organization: Boko Haram” SETA, January 2018.

 

AMISOM

Definition: The African Union Mission in Somalia. AMISOM has been present in Somalia since 2006 when it consisted solely of Ugandan troops defending the Presidential Palace and other key institutions in Mogadishu. After the departure of Ethiopian forces in 2009, the mission took over primary responsibility for defending the Somali government. In 2012 its mandate was expanded to include offensive operations and the degrading and defeat of Al-Shabaab. It was later reinforced by Burundian troops, and eventually absorbed the Ethiopian and Kenyan invasions. At its peak it swelled to over 22,000 soldiers. After several delays since 2018 its mandate is currently set to expire at the end of 2021 when the transition period is set to expire.

Source(s): Paul D. Williams. Fighting For Peace in Somalia. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2018.

 

Amniyat

Definition: (Alternatively spelled Amniyaat). The Amniyat are Al-Shabaab’s internal police and special operations division, responsible for policing Al-Shabaab’s dissidents, assassinating opponents to Al-Shabaab’s leaders, and for planning many of Al-Shabaab’s attacks, including assassinations, suicide attacks and international attacks. (For more information, see the Amniyat section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page).

Source(s): Harper, Mary. 2019. Everything You Have Told Me Is True: The Many Faces of Al Shabaab. London, UK: Hurst Co. For additional sources, see the Amniyat section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page.

 

Ansaar Muslim Youth Center (AMYC)

Definition: Ansaar Muslim Youth Center is Al-Shabaab’s affiliate in Tanzania (for more information see the “Associations” page.)

Source(s): Anzalone, Christopher. “Kenya’s Muslim Youth Center and Al-Shabab’s East African Recruitment” CTC Sentinel, October 2012, 5(10): 9-13.

 

Apostate

Definition: “a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle.”

Source(s): Oxford Languages

 

Aweys, Hassan Dahir

Definition: Islamic Courts Union (ICU) leader, founder of Hizbul Islam, religious and spiritual militant leader, intermittant member of Al-Shabaab (for more information, see Aweys’ profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

 

Ayro, Ayden

Definition: Ayden Ayro was Al-Shabaab’s first Emir, killed by an airstrike in 2008. (For more information see Ayro’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

 

Azzam, Abdullah Yusuf

Definition: Radical Islamic theorist and the “Father of Global Jihad” and the “spiritual father” of the September 11th attacks. He is one of the primary teachers of Osama Bin Laden, as well as Al-Shabaab ideologue Ibrahim al-Afghani. He was instrumental in the founding of the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-taiba and the Palistinian Hamas. He was assassinated in 1989 in Pakistan.

Source(s): Riedel, Bruce. “The 9/11 Attacks’ Spiritual Father” Brookings, September 11, 2011.

B

Baidoa

Definition: Major Somali city, it was the capital of the Somali government during the 2006 period of ICU rule. It is the capital of Bay region. After Ethiopia’s withdrawal in 2009 Al-Shabaab conquered it and held the city until 2012 when SNA and AMISOM forces retook it.

 

Balance of Power (BoP)

Definition: Balance of Power. The military strength of the opposing sides, and their relative strengths, measured by their control of territory, ability exert influence, and win battles against military rivals. Derived from classical realist and neorealist principles of Morganthau and Kenneth Waltz.

 

Barre, Siyad

Definition: (Alternatively spelled Siad Barre) Siyad Barre was a Somali dictator (1969-1991). Overthrown in 1991 after a decade-long insurgency that escalated to a civil war in 1988. He died in 1995. Barre was a member of the Marehan sub clan of the Darod clan. He was a former general who took power in a coup in October 1969. His reign was defined by a breakdown of relationship with the Soviet Union and the disastrous Ogaden war against Ethiopia.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018). “Mohamed Siad Barre” Encyclopedia Britannica.

 

Bayah

Definition: An Islamic oath of allegiance. Often un-written. Implies a reciprocal obligation of the leader towards the subject, and the subject obeying the leader. Al-Shabaab issued a bayah to Al-Qaeda in 2012.

Source(s): Oxford Islamic Studies Online

 

Bin Laden, Osama

Definition: (Alternatively spelled Usama). Osama Bin Laden was the founder and lead-ideologue of Al-Qaeda until he was killed by U.S. special forces in 2011. Responsible for planning the organization’s most infamous act of terrorism, the September 11, 2001 bombings in New York and Washington, D.C. which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Source(s): “Profile: Osama bin Laden” Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). September 1, 2007

 

Blitzkrieg

Definition: Blitzkrieg is a German word for “lightning war” popularized by World War II to refer to a rapid all-out assault. It is also used to describe Al-Shabaab’s strategy of sudden, concentrated assaults on AMISOM or SNA forces which have become common since 2015.

Source(s): Reilly, Henry. “Blitzkrieg” Foreign Affairs, January, 1940. Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

 

Boko Haram

Definition: Boko Haram is a Salafi, jihadist terrorist group in Borno State in North Eastern Nigeria. The group’s formal Arabic name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (which is roughly translated to “Group Committed to Propagating the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad”), but it is more commonly known as Boko Haram (which means “Western Education is a Sin'' in the local Hausa language). Boko Haram was founded by Mohammed Yusuf, and after his death in 2009 he was succeeded by his deputy Abubakar Shekau. Since 2009 it has waged a war in North Eastern Nigeria, including infamous abductions of children and brutal terrorist attacks (most infamously the abduction of 276 girls from Chibok in 2014). In March 2015 Boko Haram swore allegiance to the Islamic State, however when the Islamic State promoted Abu Musab al-Barnawi to command of the group (which they referred to as Islamic State West Africa Province or ISWAP), Shekau refused to accepted al-Barnawi’s leadership leading to a schism in the two groups. In CRTG Working Group publications “Boko Haram” refers to Shekau’s faction, and “ISWAP” refers to al-Barnawi’s faction.

Source(s): UCDP. Kekilli, Emrah; Khayri Omar; Ibrahim Bachir Abdoulaye. “Anatomy of A Terrorist Organization: Boko Haram” SETA, January 2018.

C

Cabo Delgado

Definition: A gas-rich region of northern Mozambique that is home to a growing Islamic insurgency (October 2017-present). The insurgents are known locally as “Al-Shabaab” but they have not been shown to have any ties to Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and are instead believed to be tied to the Islamic State (for more information, see the Associations page). 

Source(s): Columbo, Emilia. “Supporting Mozambique’s Response to the Growing Insurgent Threat in Cabo Delgado” CSIS, April 9. 2020.

 

Child

Definition: “Every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”

Source(s): Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (CAAF)

 

Definition: Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups, which “refers to any person below 18 years of age who is or who has been recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies or for sexual purposes. It does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities.” See also CAFF (Children Associated with Fighting Forces).

Source(s): “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles), January 30, 2007; Save the Children

 

Children Associated with Fighting Forces (CAFF)

Definition: Children Associated with Fighting Forces. This is a broad category which includes not only children who participate actively in hostilities but also children in support roles. See also CAAF (Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups).

Source(s): “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles), January 30, 2007; Save the Children

 

Child Protection System

Definition: Child Protection Systems are “certain formal and informal structures, functions and capacities that have been assembled to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children”.

Source(s): UNICEF. “Female genital mutilation/cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change” UNICEF, New York, NY (2013), p.3

 

Children in Conflict with the Law

Definition: “anyone under 18 who comes into contact with the justice system as a result of being suspected or accused of committing an offence”

Source(s): UNICEF “Child Protection Information Sheet: Children in Conflict with the Law” My 2006. 

 

Children in Contact with the Law

Definition: A broader term that includes children who interact with the legal system in a variety of capacities including as child victims and witnesses, as well as children in conflict with the law (see “Children in Conflict with the Law” above).

Source(s): UNICEF “Justice For Children” September 2020.

 

Children accused of infringing penal law

Definition: Children who have been charged with a criminal offence but have not yet been tried before a court.

Source(s): Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

Children alleged as having infringed penal law

Definition: Children who are under investigation on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence.

Source(s): Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

Children Recruited by Terrorist Groups (CRTG)

Definition: Children Recruited by Terrorist Groups is a term used to denote children who are recruited or used by non-state armed groups (NSAG) including terrorist groups and other extremist organizations. As with the term “Child Soldier”, CRTG is defined (and used) in a broader sense, synonymous with Children Associated with Armed Groups and Armed Forces (CAAF) and Children Associated with Fighting Forces (CAFF). Each of these terms is defined by the Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (Paris Principles) as “child associated with an armed force or armed group refers to any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes.”

Source(s): Paris Principles (Article 2.1); CRTG Working Group

Child Reintegration

Definition: “Child Reintegration” is “the process through which children transition into civil society and enter meaningful roles and identities as civilians who are accepted by their families and communities in a context of local and national reconciliation. Sustainable reintegration is achieved when the political, legal, economic and social conditions needed for children to maintain life, livelihood and dignity have been secured. This process aims to ensure that children can access their rights, including formal and non-formal education, family unity, dignified livelihoods and safety from harm.”

Source(s): “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles) (2.6), January 30, 2007.

 

Child-Sensitive

Definition: “Denotes an approach that takes into consideration the child’s right to protection and individual needs and views in accordance with the age and maturity of the child”.

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.ix); see also Save the Children; DFID, HelpAge International, Hope & Homes for Children, Institute of Development Studies, International Labour Organization, Overseas Development Institute, Save the Children UK, UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank and World Vision (Joint Statement) “Advancing Child-Sensitive Social Protection”. August 2009.

 

Child Soldier

Definition: Consistent with the definitions elsewhere in this Glossary, a “Child Soldier” is, by definition, someone aged 18 or younger. Additionally while the term “Child Soldier” indicates an explicit combat function, the nature of warfare, and the complicated and highly varying roles that combatants - in particular children - often have makes this distinction anachronistic and ill equipped for discussion of non-state armed groups. As a result, for the purposes of this Working Group and its publications, the term “Child Soldier” is defined (and used) in a broader sense, synonymous with Children Associated with Armed Groups and Armed Forces (CAAF) and Children Associated with Fighting Forces (CAFF). Each of these terms is defined by the Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (Paris Principles) as “child associated with an armed force or armed group refers to any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes.”

Source(s): Paris Principles (Article 2.1); “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles), January 30, 2007.

 

Civil Society

Definition: Civil society is “the wide array of non-governmental and not for profit organizations that have a presence in public life, express the interests and values of their members and others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations”.

Source(s): World Bank “Civil Society”  

Community-Based Policing

Definition: A philosophy and organizational strategy that promotes a partnership-based, collaborative effort between the police and the community to effectively and efficiently identify, prevent and solve problems of crime, the fear of crime, issues of physical safety and security, or social disorder.

Source(s): Saferworld. “Handout: The ten principles of community-based policing” 2006. 

 “Complex Attacks”

Definition: “Complex Attacks” are attacks that involve "a suicide device, more than one attacker, and more than one tactic (for instance, a suicide vehicle bomb) and small arms fire"

Source(s): Shire, Mohammed Ibrahim & Abdi Hersi. 2019. “Brothers in Arms: The Phenomenon of Complex Suicide Attacks”, Terrorism and Political Violence., p.2

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Definition: The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an influential convention on the rights and protections of children ratified in November 1989. Among other influential components, it defines a child as “every human being below the age of eighteen years”, extending numerous provisions previously applied only to those under 15 years of age.

Source(s): Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

Counter Insurgency (COIN)

Definition: Counter Insurgency (COIN) is “the blend of comprehensive civilian and military efforts designed to simultaneously contain insurgency and address its root causes.” 

Source(s): U.S. Department of State.

Counter Terrorism (CT)

Definition: The U.S. military defines Counterrorism operations as “operations that include the offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, preempt, and respond to terrorism”.

Source(s): US Army Field Manual, 2006, p. 4.

Counter Violent Extremism (CVE)

Definition: Counter Violent Extremism means “proactive actions to counter efforts by extremists to recruit, radicalize, and mobilize followers to violence. Fundamentally, CVE actions intend to address the conditions and reduce the factors that most likely contribute to recruitment and radicalization by violent extremists”. 

Source(s): Department of Homeland Security

Crime Prevention

Definition: “Crime Prevention comprises strategies and measures that seek to reduce the risk of crimes occurring, and their potential harmful effects on individuals and society, including fear of crime, by intervening to influence their multiple causes.”

Source(s): United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime “Crime Prevention”. 

D

Dadaab

Definition: Refugee camp in Kenya. It is among the largest refugee camps in the world home to over 218,000 refugees as of July 2020. The camp has been active since the fall of the Siyad Barre regime plunged Somali into chaos in 1991, despite frequent discussions of closing it by the Kenyan government.

Source(s): “Dadaab Refugee Complex” UNHCR.

 

Danab

Definition: It is the “Lightning” brigade. It is a special, U.S.-trained segment of the SNA. However, it operates almost entirely independently of the rest of the SNA, operating alongside AMISOM and U.S. forces (prior to the US-withdrawal in late 2020). It is thought to be one of the few functional elements of the SNA capable of operating without foreign support.

Source(s): Sperber, Amanda. “The Danab Brigade: Somalia’s Elite, U.-Sponsored, Special Ops Force” Mail & Guardian. August 11, 2020.

 

Da’wa

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s preaching and education ministry. They are responsible for designing the curriculums in Al-Shabaab’s schools, Mosques, and other public institutions. They are the instrument of Al-Shabaab’s media censorship.

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

 

Demobilization

Definition: Demobilization is “the formal and controlled discharge of active combatants from armed forces or other armed groups. The first stage of demobilization may extend from the processing of individual combatants in temporary centres to the massing of troops in camps designated for this purpose. The second stage of demobilization encompasses the support package provided to the demobilized, which is called reinsertion.”

Source(s): Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (UN 2006)

 

Deprivation of Liberty

Definition: Means any form of detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting, from which this person is not permitted to leave at will, by order of any judicial, administrative or other public authority.

Source(s): General Assembly, United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (the Havana Rules), adopted by the General Assembly on 14 December 1990 (A/RES/45/113).

 

Deradicalization

Definition: Deradicalization is “the process of abandoning an extremist worldview”.  This is a process designed to influence the attitudes of ex-combatants who harbour radical ideologies that support the use of violence to propagate a cause.  Deradicalization is a non-linear process that seeks to promote mental and physical desistance from acts of violence. It is a complex process that must be supported by programmes that promote behavioural change since it may be difficult to demonstrate any significant changes in attitude without a change in behaviour. (See also: “Radicalization” below)

Source(s): Rabasa, Angel; Stacie L. Pettyjohn; Jeremy J. Ghez; and Christopher Boucek. “Deradicalizing Islamic Extremists” Rand, 2010 (p.1).

 

Dhere, Ali 

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s spokesperson. Nom de guerre “Ali Rage”. (For more information see Ali Dhere’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

Digital Divide

Definition: “The gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communication technology and those who have restricted or no access”.

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.ix); See also: Stanford; OECD.

 

Disarmament

Definition: Disarmament refers to “the collection, documentation, control and disposal of small arms, ammunition, explosives and light and heavy weapons of combatants and often also of the civilian population. Disarmament also includes the development of responsible arms management programmes”

Source(s): “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles) (2.6), January 30, 2007.

 

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)

Definition: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration is the process of deradicalizing former members of NSAG and reintegrating them into society. Including separating the combatant from the armed group, taking their weapons, and reintegrating them into society.

Source(s): United Nations.

E

El Adde

Definition: Town in Somalia where Kenya had an AMISOM base that was the site of one of Al-Shabaab’s most devastating attacks on peacekeeping forces (January 2016). (For more information see Al-Shabaab’s history section).

Source(s): Oladipo, Tommy. “What happened when al-Shabab attacked a Kenyan base in Somalia?” BBC. January 22, 2016.  “Al-Shabaab Attacks African Union Base in Somalia” Al Jazeera; “Kenyan troops abandon Somali camp to al Shabaab militants” Reuters, January 26, 2016

Emir

Definition: (Alternatively spelled Amir), is an Arabic word that translates to “commander” or “prince”. The term has come to mean a Muslim political leader (including a commander or governor), particularly in the Arab world.

Source(s): Cambridge Dictionary; Encyclopedia Britannica

F

“Far Enemy”

Definition: The “Far Enemy” (in Arabic al-adou al-baid) is a term from Al-Qaeda’s rhetoric, used to refer to the U.S. and the West. Frequently adopted by Al-Qaeda affiliates including Al-Shabaab. The term is generally attributed to Osama Bin Laden.

Source(s): “What is Jihadism?” BBC, December 11, 2014.

 

“Farmajo” Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed

Definition: also known as Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed; Somali President 2012-present. His term expired on February 8, 2021, but Somalia remains unable to reach a political settlement that would allow for a successor to be selected. As such “Farmajo” remains nominally in power, although several factions refuse to recognize him due to a lack of mandate.

Source(s): Gee, Taylor. “How an American Bureaucrat Became President of Somalia”. Politico, February 19, 2017.

 

Federal Government of Somalia (FGS)

Definition: The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), is Somalia’s current government system (August 2012-present).

Source(s): Somali Federal Government: Official Web Portal.

 

Foreign Terrorist Fighters

Definition: “Individuals who travel to a State other than their State of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, including in connection with armed conflicts.”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.x); citing Security Council resolution 2178, adopted by the Security Council on 24 September 2017 (S/RES/2178) (2014).

 

Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO)

Definition: Foreign Terrorist Organization, these are “foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended.”

Source(s): U.S. Government

 

Formers 

Definition: “Individuals who were formerly affected by or associated with a terrorist or violent extremist group who may be able to assist in prevention work by sharing their experiences through communication strategies to deter future child recruitment”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.x)

G

Garsoor

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s term for their judicial system. 

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

 

Global War on Terror (GWoT)

Definition: The Global War on Terror (GWoT) was declared by then-President George W. Bush in 2001 in response to September 11th attacks.

Source(s): U.S. Government

 

Godane, Ahmed 

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s second Emir from 2008-2014, killed by a U.S. airstrike. (For more information see Godane’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

 

Greater Jihad

Definition: Greater Jihad refers to the inner jihad or the struggle for self improvement. According to Islamic texts this is the primary jihad, despite the focus on the “lesser jihad” (external jihad, or “holy war”) in many media accounts.

Source(s): Oxford Bibliographies

H

Hadith Fiqh

Definition: Islamic law

Source(s): Harper, Mary. 2019. Everything You Have Told Me Is True: The Many Faces of Al Shabaab. London, UK: Hurst Co.

 

Haradhere

Definition: Somali port city. In the late 2000s and early 2010s it was the primary pirate port city in Somalia. At the time it was held by Hizbul Islam until 2011, when Al-Shabaab took over. After Al-Shabaab took over their heavy taxes caused many pirates to leave the city.

Source(s):

 

Harakat Raskamboni (HKR)

Definition: Militia in southern Somalia, near Kismayo. At various times they have sided with Al-Shabaab (as in Al-Shabaab’s conquest of Kismayo in 2008) and with Kenya against Al-Shabaab (for instance when Kenya conquered Kismayo in 2012). It has also been a part of rival Islamic groups such as Hizbul Islam (2009-2010). It is estimated to have as many as 3,000 fighters at times (although the active numbers fluctuate widely).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile. Mapping Militant Organizations. “Ras Kamboni Brigade.” Stanford University. Last modified March 2019.

 

Hisbah

Definition: The Hisbah are Al-Shabaab’s police (a subset of Al-Shabaab’s Amniyat), they are responsible for ensuring public order (including arresting petty criminals), as well as for enforcing Al-Shabaab’s version of Sharia law (including enforcing mandatory prayer sessions). The Hisbah not only arrested criminals but they also carried out the penalties themselves. Al-Shabaab established different Hisbah branches in each local area it controlled. (For more information on the Hisbah see Al-Shabaab’s organizational structure page).

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); For additional sources on the Hisbah see Al-Shabaab’s organizational structure page.

 

Hizbul Islam

Definition: Rival Islamic armed group in Somalia 2009-2010 composed of many former ICU members including Hassan Dahir Aweys. Hizbul Islam intermittently allied with and fought with Al-Shabaab before being absorbed into the stronger Al-Shabaab in December 2010.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

 

Homegrown Violent Extremists/ Extremism (HVE)

Definition: Homegrown Violent Extremists/ Extremism is a U.S. Security term. HVE describes domestically radicalized extremists (as compared to foreigners), who commit acts of terrorist violence within the U.S. The U.S. Department of Justice defines HVE as “those who encourage, endorse, condone, justify, or support the commission of a violent criminal act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals by a citizen or long-term resident of a Western country”.

Source(s): U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice

 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) 

Definition: Founded in 1978, Human Rights Watch is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that “investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world”

Source(s): Human Rights Watch “About Us”

I

Imam

Definition: A Muslim religious leader. A leader of prayers in a Mosque. Imam’s often are leaders in both spiritual and secular undertakings.

Source(s): Cambridge Dictionary; Oxford Islamic Studies Online

Improvised Explosive Device (IED)

Definition: Improvised Explosive Device. “An improvised explosive device (IED) attack is the use of a ‘homemade’ bomb and/or destructive device”.

Source(s): Department of Homeland Security; “Attack Methodology: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)” UK National Counterterrorism Security Office. November 2, 2020.

 

Infaq

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s arbitrary emergency tax, determined as needed by the group

Source(s): Harper, Mary. 2019. Everything You Have Told Me Is True: The Many Faces of Al Shabaab. London, UK: Hurst Co. 

Internally Displaced Person(s) (IDPs)

Definition: Internally Displaced Person(s), or “persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.” Unlike refugees, IDPs do not have special status, however, they retain their national status, and thus the primary responsibility for their protection remains with their country of origin.

Source(s): UNHCR

 

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

Definition: Intergovernmental Authority on Development. IGAD is a regional bloc of East African states. It is “a specialized Institution that is mandated to issues related to drought resilience, peace and security and economic cooperation as a prerequisite for economic integration of the countries in the horn of Africa; (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan).”

Source(s): IGAD “About IGAD”.

 

International Armed Conflict (IAC)

Definition: An International Armed Conflict (IAC) “occurs when one or more States have recourse to armed force against another State, regardless of the reasons or the intensity of this confrontation. No formal declaration of war or recognition of the situation is required. The existence of an international armed conflict, and as a consequence, the possibility to apply International Humanitarian Law to this situation, depends on what actually happens on the ground. It is based on factual conditions. Apart from regular, inter-state armed conflicts, Additional Protocol I extends the definition of international armed conflicts to include armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation or racist regimes in the exercise of their right to self-determination”. The presence of an IAC invokes a certain subset of IHL protections and responsibilities outlined in the Geneva Conventions, as well as Additional Protocol I (1977).

Source(s): ICRC

 

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Definition: International Atomic Energy Agency. Responsible for regulating atomic energy and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Source(s): IAEA

 

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Definition: International Committee of the Red Cross. “The International Committee of the Red Cross is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles”

Source(s): ICRC 

 

International Criminal Court (ICC)

Definition: International Criminal Court, a U.N. Institution. It is “a permanent international court established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.”

Source(s): ICC

 

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

Definition: International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, established by the U.N. in 1993, it remained active until 2017. It established many of the principles of IHL, including the rules governing indiscriminate attacks and killing civilians, as well as establishing a precedent for prosecuting those “bearing the greatest responsibility” (including leaders and heads of state), rather than collective responsibility.

Source(s): “About the ICTY” United Nations.

 

International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

Definition: International Humanitarian Law. It is “a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. International humanitarian law is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict”

Source(s): International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

 

International Human Rights Law (IHRL)

Definition: International Human Rights Law “lays down obligations which States are bound to respect. By becoming parties to international treaties, States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.”

Source(s): UN OHCHR

 

Islamic Courts Union (ICU)

Definition: The Islamic Courts Union. Alternatively the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). The ICU emerged from local Islamic courts which arose in an attempt to solve disputes in Mogadishu in the early 2000s. In 2006 they defeated the local warlord coalitions and became the dominant power in Mogadishu, restoring a degree of order to the country. The ICU was a broad coalition including hardline elements that eventually became Al-Shabaab, and moderate elements including future President Sheikh Sharif. For more information, see the history section.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the history section.

 

Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)

Definition: Islamic State West Africa Province. In March 2015 Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. However, when the Islamic State promoted Abu Musab al-Barnawi al-Barnawi as commander, Boko Haram’s commander, Abubakar Shekau refused to acknowledge al-Barnawi’s authority, leading to clashes and a schism. al-Barnai’s force, which remained loyal to the Islamic State, is estimated to consist of some 3,500 to 5,000 fighters. This group, led by al-Barnawi, is referred to as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), while Shekau’s faction continues to be referred to by its original name, Boko Haram.

Source(s): “Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)” United Nations Security Council.

 

Islamism

Definition: “In the broadest sense, Islamist groups believe Islamic law or Islamic values should play a central role in public life. They feel Islam has things to say about how politics should be conducted, how the law should be applied, and how other people—not just themselves—should conduct themselves morally”. It requires a conscious political affirmation of Islam. “The basic project of mainstream Islamism, if it can be summed up in a sentence, is to reconcile pre-modern Islamic law with the modern nation-state” It is a broad category including both mainstream parties and extremist groups, the vast majority of Islamists are not violent.

Source(s): Hamid, Shadi & Rashid Dar. “Islamism, Salafism, and jihadism: A primer” Brookings, July 15, 2016.

J

Jabhat

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s army, “the foot soldiers of Al-Shabaab, tasked with fighting frontline battles” against Al-Shabaab’s enemies. (For more information, see the Jabhat section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page). 

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018), p.89; For additional sources, see the sources in the Jabhat section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page

 

Janawiil

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s court police. One of the sources of Al-Shabaab’s popularity is their strong judicial system, with predictable enforcement. The enforcement of Al-Shabaab’s court decisions is implemented by the Janawiil, a local court police assigned to each locality.

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); Hansen, Stig. 2016. Al-Shabaab in Somalia: the History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group. Oxford University Press (2nd Ed.).

 

Jaysh Ayman

Definition: Al-Shabaab affiliated branch in Kenya, reportedly formed as early as 2001, led by Sheikh Rogo and Sheikh ‘Makaburi’. Its name translates to the “Army of Ayman”, which is variously interpreted as an allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri (the leader of Al-Qaeda) or Omar Moalim Ayman (a Kenyan born senior Al-Shabaab leader). The group is responsible for numerous attacks inside of Kenya. It is reported to have defected to the Islamic State (Ndzovu 2017), but this remains disputed. (For more information, see the Associations page). 

Source(s): Ndzovu, Hassan Juma. “The Rise of Jihad, Killing of ‘Apostate Imams’ and Non-Combatant Christian Civilians in Kenya: Al-Shabaab’s Re-Definition of the Enemy on Religious Lines” Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 3.1 (October 2017): 4-20; West, Sugunta. “Jaysh al-Ayman: A ‘Local’ Threat in Kenya”  Terrorism Monitor Volume: 16 Issue: 8.

 

Jazeera Palace Hotel

Definition: Major hotel in Mogadishu, where many government officials, foreign leaders and military members live and work. It has been the target of many high-profile Al-Shabaab attacks.

Source(s): Jazeera Palace Hotel

 

Jihad

Definition: A term of Islamic faith meaning “to strive or to struggle”. It has often been associated by media accounts with the “lesser jihad” of armed resistance, but is understood by Islamic scholars to have a much wider connotation,

Source(s): “Jihad” BBC. “Jihad” Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Gorka, Sebastian. “Understanding History’s Seven Stages of Jihad” CTC Sentinel, October 2009, Volume 2, Issue 10

 

Jugta Ulis

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s rapid-reaction force (a subset of the Amniyat). At times they fight alongside Al-Shabaab’s Jabhat, but more often they are used independently to strike strategic targets to tip battles in the group’s favor. (For more information, see the Jabhat section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page).

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); For additional sources, see the Jugta Ulis section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page.

 

Justice System for Children

Definition: The set of standards that recognize the child in conflict with the law as a human being with the right to a fair trial, but also with a special status requiring child specific treatment. This approach is recognized in article 40 of the CRC, the core justice for children provision.

Source(s): Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

 

Juvenile

Definition: Article 2.2 (a) of the Beijing Rules on the administration of justice for children states that “a juvenile is a child or young person who, under the respective legal systems, may be dealt with for an offence in a manner which is different from an adult.”

Source(s): United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (“The Beijing Rules”) Adopted by General Assembly resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1985

 

Juvenile justice system

Definition: “specialized system of laws, policies, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children alleged as, accused of or recognized as, having infringed penal law”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.x)

K

Karate, Mahad 

Definition: Mahad Karate is a high ranking leader of Al-Shabaab, former-Emir Godane's right hand man, leader of the Amniyat, believed to be alive (despite repeated reports that he died) and possibly defected. (For more information see Karate’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

Kenyan Defense Force (KDF)

Definition: The Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) is the Kenyan military. It invaded Somalia to combat Al-Shabaab in Operation Linda Nchi in 2011. The KDF has also played a central role in AMISOM since 2012.

Source(s):

 

Kismayo

Definition: Major southern port city in Somalia, the commercial capital of the Jubaland region, and a center of charcoal export. It was Al-Shabaab’s stronghold until 2011.

L

Lesser Jihad

Definition: Lesser Jihad refers to the “outer” struggle, including the military struggle or holy war. This tends to be seen as the less important jihad by most Islamic theorists, despite the emphasis on it in media accounts.

Source(s): Rabil, Robert. “Contextualizing Jihad and Takfir in the Sunni Conceptual Framework” The Washington Institute, August 31, 2018.

M

“Madobe”, Mohamed Islam

Definition: Known as Madobe, Mohamed Islam Madobe is the anti-Al-Shabaab leader of HKR (he took power in late 2009), as well as the President of Jubaland state (2013-present) where he was re-elected in 2019, in frequent conflict with the Somali government. He has received substantial support from the Kenyan government, who view him as a valuable partner in the war against Al-Shabaab.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); Stanford CIASC. Mapping Militants “Ras Kamboni Movement” January 12, 2016. Hassan, Abdiqani. “Leader of Somalia’s Jubbaland, At Odds With Mogadishu, Wins Election” Reuters, August 22, 2019.

Maktabatu Maaliya

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance runs a tight organization, and centralizes the group’s finances across a variety of revenue sources and different regions. (For more information on the Maktabatu Maaliya, see the Finance section).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig. 2016. Al-Shabaab in Somalia: the History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group. Oxford University Press (2nd Ed.). For additional sources on the Maktabatu Maaliya see the Finance section.

 

Maqtab

Definition: The Maqtab are Al-Shabaab’s bureaucracy, described as “Al-Shabaab’s equivalent of government agencies”, they are responsible for implementing the decisions of Al-Shabaab’s leadership. At any given time, Al-Shabaab has between seven and eleven such departments. (For more information, see the Jabhat section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page).

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018), p.84.

 

Martyr

Definition: A Martyr is “a person who suffers very much or is killed because of their religious or political beliefs, and is often admired because of it”. This is also Al-Shabaab’s term for their suicide bombers and those killed by air-strikes in an attempt to glorify fighting for their cause.

Source(s): Cambridge Dictionary

 

Means of Rebellion (MoR)

Definition: Means of Rebellion, which are defined as the resources (primarily troops, weapons or funds) that sustain an NSAG. The sources of these MoR can be categorized into economic (lootable resources, or foreign patrons) or social endowments (identity or ideology affiliations to the community).

Source(s): Weinstein, Jeremy. (2006) Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent violence. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.; and Dudek, N. (forthcoming)

 

Media information literacy (MIL)

Definition: “The ability to access, analyse, and create media, and to interpret and make informed judgments as users of information and media, as well as to become skilful creators and producers of information and media messages”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.x), see also UNESCO; Council of Europe

 

Member of Parliament (MP)

Definition: Member of Parliament

 

Mogadishu

Definition: The capital of Somalia

 

Monotheism

Definition: The belief that there is only one God, for instance in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Source(s): Cambridge English Dictionary

 

Mukhabarad

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s intelligence gathering unit (a subset of the Amniyat). They are well known for surveilling targets for weeks or months prior to the attack, and for their ability to keep eyes on seemingly everyone in the country. (For more information, see the Mukhabarad section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page).

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); Harper, Mary “Somalia’s Frightnening Network of Islamist Spies” BBC, May 26, 2019. For additional sources, see the Mukhabarad section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page.

Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF)

Definition: The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) is a joint military effort formed in October 2014 by countries of the Chad Basin - Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin to fight Boko Haram and ISWAP

Source(s): African Union “Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram”; Kekilli, Emrah; Khayri Omar; Ibrahim Bachir Abdoulaye. “Anatomy of A Terrorist Organization: Boko Haram” SETA, January 2018.

 

Mumin, Abdulqadir

Definition: Former Al-Shabaab ideologue and leader in charge of issuing Fatwas for the group. In October 2015 he defected and became the leader of the Islamic State in Somalia (ISS) based out of Puntland.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018). Weiss, Caleb. “Reigniting the Rivalry: The Islamic State in Somalia vs. al-Shabaab”, CTC Sentinel, April 2019.

 

Musab, Abdaisis Abu

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s military spokesman (under Ali Dhere, aka Ali Rage, the group’s chief spokesperson). For additional information, see Musab’s profile.

Source(s): See Musab’s profile.

 

Mutafajirad

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s sucide operations division (a subset of the Amniyat). It contains two subdivisions specialized for carrying out different types of attacks. The first, the Amaliya Istishhad carries out “simple” suicide attacks, and the Amaliya Inqimas which orchestrates “complex” attacks. (For more information, see the Mutafajirad section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page).

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); For additional sources, see the Mutafajirad section in Al-Shabaab’s organizational page.

N

Naibu Amiru’l-Amm

Definition: Under the leadership of Boko Haram’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf, the Naibu Amiru’l-Amm was the aid of the Amiru’l-Amm, and the second-in-command or Deputy of Boko Haram. (See Amiru’l-Amm)

Source(s): Kekilli, Emrah; Khayri Omar; Ibrahim Bachir Abdoulaye. “Anatomy of A Terrorist Organization: Boko Haram” SETA, January 2018.

 

National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA)

Definition: National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) is Somalia’s intelligence infrastructure, including its spy system. It works to combat Al-Shabaab infiltration. It is also responsible for surveying Al-Shabaab defectors (including children) to evaluate their threat level.

 

Neurodisability

Definition: Neurodisability is “an impairment of functioning relating to any condition that affects the brain and/or nervous system”. It includes both mental impairments (including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and traumatic brain injuries) as well as physical impairments (such as cerebral palsy). Neurodisability can be caused by a wide range of factors that compromise brain function including genetic factors, pregnancy-related complications including foetal alcohol and drug syndromes, birth trauma, acute injury and illness.

Source(s): National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine see also “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.x)

 

Nihayat al-Mu'tadin

Definition: Literally translates as “The End of the Aggressors” or “The End of the Apostates”, it is more commonly known as the “Ramadan Offensive”, which Al-Shabaab launched in August 2011 against the key institutions of government (including the Villa Somalia) in Mogadishu. (For more information see Al-Shabaab’s history section).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the history section.

 

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Definition: Non-Governmental Organization(s). It refers to “any organization, usually non-profit, that operates independently of a government” including humanitarian actors, aid agencies, etc.

Source(s): The Borgen Project

 

Non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC)

Definition: Non-International Armed Conflict. This is defined by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions as  "armed conflicts not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties". This definition has been refined by the ICRC to mean “armed conflicts in which one or more non-governmental armed groups are involved. Depending on the situation, hostilities may occur between governmental armed forces and non-governmental armed groups or between such groups only. As the four Geneva Conventions have universally been ratified now, the requirement that the armed conflict must occur ‘in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties’ has lost its importance in practice”. (See IAC).

Source(s): ICRC 

 

Non-State Armed Group (NSAG)

Definition: Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) is a general term that encompasses rebel groups, terrorist groups, insurgencies, armed criminal gangs, and militias. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) defines NSAG as “an ‘organized armed group’ is the armed wing of a non-state party to a non-international armed conflict”.

Source(s): Shultz, Richard. ICRC.

 

Nurturing Parenting

Definition: “Involves helping children develop healthy social and emotional behaviours, teaching life skills, and promoting well-being through modelling healthy ways to solve problems and communicate feelings.”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.x)

O

Operation Linda Nchi

Definition: Literally translates as “Operation Protect the Nation”, this was Kenya’s military operation/ invasion of Somalia in 2011. (For more information see Al-Shabaab’s history section).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the history section.

P

Person Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (PBIEDs)

Definition: Person Borne IEDs (PBIEDs) involve a suicide bomber with a suicide device attached killing themselves in order to assassinate their target. They have become less common for groups such as Al-Shabaab.

Source(s): “Attack Methodology: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)” UK National Counterterrorism Security Office. November 2, 2020.

 

Propaganda

Propaganda is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause, point of view or ideology. Propaganda often takes the form of multimedia communications that contain ideological or practical instructions, explanations, or justifications to promote terrorist and violent extremist activities”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019.

 

Protective environment

Definition: “An environment conducive to ensuring, to the maximum extent possible, the survival and development of the child, including physical, mental, spiritual, moral, psychological and social development, in a manner compatible with human dignity”.

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019.

 

Puntland

Definition: Northern semi-autonomous region of Somalia. Stronghold of the Islamic State in Somalia.

Source(s):

Q

Qaalli

Definition: Al-Shabaab judge. Whenever Al-Shabaab took over a town it established a judicial system with one to three judges to hear both criminal and civil cases. The judges are responsible for collecting evidence and delivering a ruling, as Al-Shabaab courts do not allow external lawyers. (For additional information on Qaalli see the Judicial section of the document on Al-Shabaab’s organization).

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); For additional sources on Qaalli see the Judicial section of the document on Al-Shabaab’s organization

 

Quran

Definition: (Alternatively spelled Koran or Qu’ran), the Quran is the primary religious text or scripture of Islam it literally translates to the “recisitation”. It is organized into 142 surahs or chapters. According to Islamic teachings it was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad by God from 610 until his death in 632.

Source(s): BBC, Oxford Islamic Studies Online

R

Radicalization

Definition: Radicalization is the process through which an individual or group acquires extreme beliefs in favour of far reaching social, religious, economic and political changes.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines radicalization as “the process of adopting an extremist belief system, including the willingness to use, support, or facilitate violence, as a method to affect societal change.”

Source(s): Charles E. Allen, Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis and Chief Intelligence Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Threat of Islamic Radicalization to the Homeland, written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2007, p. 4.

 

Radio al-Andalus

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s primary radio station, where Al-Shabaab frequently claims responsibility for their attacks.

Source(s): Various reports refer to Al-Shabaab statements issued through Radio al-Furqan, see for example Anzalone, Christopher. 2018. “Black Banners in Somalia: The State of al-Shabaab’s Territorial Insurgency and the Specter of the Islamic State” CTC Sentinel.

 

Radio al-Furqan

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s radio station

Source(s): Various reports refer to Al-Shabaab statements issued through Radio al-Furqan, see for example Anzalone, Christopher. 2018. “Black Banners in Somalia: The State of al-Shabaab’s Territorial Insurgency and the Specter of the Islamic State” CTC Sentinel.

 

Recruitment of Children

Definition: “compulsory, forced and voluntary conscription or enlistment of children into any kind of armed force, armed group or terrorist or violent extremist group”

Source(s): “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles), January 30, 2007. And “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.xi)

 

Rehabilitation

Definition: Although it is frequently referenced in the literature on children affected by conflict, there does not appear to be a universally agreed upon definition of “rehabilitation”. However, the central tenet of rehabilitation is “the restoration of ex-combatants to good health through medical treatment, therapy, or education.”

Source(s): Nilsson, Anderson. Reintegrating Ex-Combatants in Post-Conflict Societies. Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). 2005. p.28

 

Reinsertion

Definition: Reinsertion is “assistance offered to ex-combatants during demobilization but prior to the longer-term process of reintegration. Reinsertion is a form of transitional assistance to help cover the basic needs of ex-combatants and their families and can include transitional safety allowances, food, clothes, shelter, medical services, short-term education, training, employment and tools. While reintegration is a long-term, continuous social and economic process of development, reinsertion is a short-term material and/ or financial assistance to meet immediate needs, and can last up to one year.”

Source(s): Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (UN 2006)

 

Reintegration

Definition: Reintegration is defined as “ the process by which ex-combatants acquire civilian status and gain sustainable employment and income. Reintegration is essentially a social and economic process with an open time-frame, primarily taking place in communities at the local level. It is part of the general development of a country and a national responsibility, and often necessitates long-term external assistance.”

Source(s): Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (UN 2006)

 

Release

Definition: “Includes the process of formal and controlled disarmament and demobilisation of children from an armed force or armed group as well as the informal ways in which children leave by escaping, being captured or by any other means. It implies a disassociation from the armed force or armed group and the beginning of the transition from military to civilian life. Release can take place during a situation of armed conflict; it is not dependent on the temporary or permanent cessation of hostilities. Release is not dependent on children having weapons to forfeit.”

Source(s): “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles) (2.6), January 30, 2007.

 

Resilience

Definition: “Sources of strength and resources to allow people to face, live with, manage and overcome challenges”.

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.xi) See also Mazurana, Dyan ‘We Have Hope’: Resilience Among Violence Affected Youth.” (Forthcoming)

 

Robow, Mukhtar

Definition: Mukhtar Robow was a high profile leader of Al-Shabaab. Robow was the face of Al-Shabaab and Deputy-Emir of Al-Shabaab until 2010. Robow defected in 2012 during the purge. Robow is a member of the influential Rahanweyn clan. (For more information see Robow’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

 

RPG

Definition: Rocket Propelled Grenade.

S

Sahab Media Foundation

 

Definition: (Alternatively spelled As-Sahab) Al-Qaeda’s media organization, it publishes speeches by major Al-Qaeda leaders including Osama Bin Laden, and publicizes Al-Qaeda and Taliban attacks, particularly those in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Source(s): Kohlmann, Evan. 2009. “Prominent Jihadi Media Organizations in Central Asia” Nine Eleven Finding Answers Foundation.

 

Salafism

Definition: “Salafism is the idea that the most authentic and true Islam is found in the lived example of the early, righteous generations of Muslims, known as the Salaf, who were closest in both time and proximity to the Prophet Muhammad”. They tend to be less politically oriented, focusing on teaching and preaching and living in line with the traditional values of the Prophet. The majority of Salafists are non-violent. 

Source(s): Hamid, Shadi & Rashid Dar. “Islamism, Salafism, and jihadism: A primer” Brookings, July 15, 2016.

 

Sayyid Qutb

Definition: Born in Egypt in 1906, Qutb (pronounced KUH-tahb) is one of radical Islam’s most influential theorists and ideologues; he has been described as “Islamism’s principal theoretician in the Arab world”. His writing laid the foundations for the ideology of Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Islamic State, and countless other groups. He was among those who framed the conflict as one between Islam and the West, Christianity and Zionism, and he was one of the fiercest critics of moderate Islamic regimes as “apostates”, thus justifying attacks against moderate Muslim governments. He was well educated in both Islamic schools and Western education (he received a MA in the U.S.). After returning to Egypt in the late-1940s he became a leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and after the rise of Nassir he was arrested and kept in prison for over a decade before being executed in 1966.

Source(s): Berman, Paul. “The Philosopher of Islamic Terror” The New York Times, March 23, 2003. “Sayyid Qutb” Encyclopedia Britannica. “Profile: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood” BBC, December 25, 2013.

 

Secondary Victimization

Definition: “Refers to the victimization that occurs not as a direct result of the criminal act but through the response of institutions and individuals to the victim.”

Source(s): UNODC, Handbook on Justice for Victims: On the use and application of the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, (New York, 1999), p. 9.

 

Security Force Assistance (SFA)

Definition: Security Force Assistance. Military assistance programs, including funds, equipment, training etc. designed to strengthen a state military: “activities that support the development of the capacity and capability of foreign security forces and their supporting institutions. Foreign Security Forces include not only military forces, but also police, border forces, and other paramilitary organizations at all levels”

Source(s): U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

 

Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)

Definition: Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is a broad term that encompases rape, sexual assault and “any act that is perpetrated against a person's will and is based on gender norms and unequal power relationships. It includes physical, emotional or psychological and sexual violence, and denial of resources or access to services. Violence includes threats of violence and coercion.”

Source(s): UNHCR

 

Shahada

Definition: Shahada literally translates to “bearing witness to faith”. It is a declaration of Islamic faith, and it constitutes the first and foremost of the five pillars of Islam. It involves reciting the following phrase: “I bear witness that there is no lord but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. It is frequently used as proof of a person’s Islamic faith.

Source(s): Haq, Muhammad ’Abdul. 1984. “The Meaning and Significance of the Shahada” Islamic Studies 23(3): 171-187.

 

Sharia Law

Definition: (Alternatively spelled Shariah Law). Although Sharia literally translates to “the clear, well-trodden path to water”, in practice Sharia Law refers to Islamic Law. Sharia Law governs the rules of everyday life as well as the structure of government and criminal penalties for violations of Islamic principles. It is rooted in the Qu’ran (the principal holy text of Islam).

Source(s): “What is Sharia and How is it Applied?” BBC, May 7, 2014; Bassiouni, Cherif. “Islamic Law - The Shariah” The Middle East Institute, January 24, 2012.

 

Sheikh

Definition: A leader of the Muslim community. Also refers to a tribal or clan leader in many Arab Societies, as well as Somalia.

Source(s): Oxford English Dictionary

 

Sheikh Sharif

Definition: Somali President (2008-2012)

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018).

 

Sheikh Rogo

Definition: Prominent radical Imam in Kenya, killed in 2012 by Kenyan security forces

Source(s): Ndzovu, Hassan Juma. “The Rise of Jihad, Killing of ‘Apostate Imams’ and Non-Combatant Christian Civilians in Kenya: Al-Shabaab’s Re-Definition of the Enemy on Religious Lines” Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 3.1 (October 2017): 4-20.

 

Sheikh Ibrahim Omar

Definition: Sheikh Rogo's successor as the leader of Kenya’s radical Islamic clerics, killed in 2013 by Kenyan security forces.

Source(s): Ndzovu, Hassan Juma. “The Rise of Jihad, Killing of ‘Apostate Imams’ and Non-Combatant Christian Civilians in Kenya: Al-Shabaab’s Re-Definition of the Enemy on Religious Lines” Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 3.1 (October 2017): 4-20.

 

Sheikh Makaburi

Definition: Prominent radical preacher in Kenya, killed by Kenyan security forces in 2013

Source(s): Ndzovu, Hassan Juma. “The Rise of Jihad, Killing of ‘Apostate Imams’ and Non-Combatant Christian Civilians in Kenya: Al-Shabaab’s Re-Definition of the Enemy on Religious Lines” Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 3.1 (October 2017): 4-20.

 

Sheikh Shongole

Definition: Al-Shabaab leader and a former leader of the ICU. Shongole was a member of Al-Shabaab’s Shura Council prior to defecting during Godane’s 2013 purge. Shongole is a member of the Harti sub-can of the Darod. (For more information see Shongole’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

Shura Council

Definition: Religious governing body. In Arabic, the word “Shura” means “consultative”, consistent with this, the Shura Council often functions in an advisory role (as is the case in Al-Shabaab). Shura Councils are present in a variety of settings, including both extremist groups (including Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram) as well non-extremist organizations.

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

 

Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali

Definition:  (Also known as Shaykh Ahmad Iman Ali; Ahmed Iman Ali; and Abu Zinira). Sheikh Ali is the leader of the Muslim Youth Center (MYC)/ Al-Hijra in Kenya. He was responsible for recruiting hundreds or perhaps thousands of Kenyans (including children) for Al-Shabaab. In January 2018 the U.S. recognized him as a specially designated terrorist.

Source(s): Ndzovu, Hassan Juma. “The Rise of Jihad, Killing of ‘Apostate Imams’ and Non-Combatant Christian Civilians in Kenya: Al-Shabaab’s Re-Definition of the Enemy on Religious Lines” Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 3.1 (October 2017): 4-20.

 

SNA

Definition: Somali National Army.

 

Social inclusion

Definition: “The act of making all groups of people within a society feel valued and important.”

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019.

 

Somaliland

Definition: Semi-autonomous region of Somalia. It formally seceded in 1992, although its secession has not been formally recognized. Unlike southern Somalia, Somaliland has been successful at preventing Al-Shabaab from establishing a presence. 

Source(s): “Republic of Somaliland” UCDP

 

Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

Definition: The Special Court for Sierra Leone was a hybrid court (combining both domestic and international law) established at the request of then-Sierra Leonean president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. The court was designed to try “those who bear the greatest responsibility” for the crimes of the Sierra Leonean civil war (1991-2002), including Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. This was very influential in defining the international precedent for rulings on child soldiers, and children in armed conflict.

Source(s): “The Special Court for Sierra Leone” Human Rights Watch (HRW), April 11, 2012. 

T

Takfir

Definition: Takfir is the process of labelling a person as an “apostate” (or enemy of Islam) and excommunicating them. Islamic extremist groups (such as Al-Shabaab) frequently label moderate Islamists who do not adhere to the radical views as “takfir”, in order to make that person a “legitimate target”. Definitions of what makes a person “takfir” vary.

Source(s): Ndzovu, Hassan Juma. “The Rise of Jihad, Killing of ‘Apostate Imams’ and Non-Combatant Christian Civilians in Kenya: Al-Shabaab’s Re-Definition of the Enemy on Religious Lines” Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 3.1 (October 2017): 4-20; Weeraratne, Susan & Sterling Recker. 2018. “The Isolated Islamists: The Case of the Allied Democratic Forces in the Ugandan-Congolese Borderland” Terrorism and Political Violence, 30(1): 22-46; Hamid, Shadi & Rashid Dar. “Islamism, Salafism, and jihadism: A primer” Brookings, July 15, 2016.  Rabasa, Angel; Stacie L. Pettyjohn; Jeremy J. Ghez; and Christopher Boucek. “Deradicalizing Islamic Extremists” Rand, 2010.

 

Tanfid

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s executive branch, as distinct from the consultative branch (the Shura Council). The Tanfid is made up of Al-Shabaab’s most influential members, including representatives from important clans.

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

 

TCC

Definition: Troop Contributing Countries

 

TCK(s)

Definition: Targeted Civilian Killings. Attacks that deliberately target and kill civilians: "purposeful acts taken by the group to execute or assassinate specific individuals. It does not include terrorist-related attacks that result in fatalities, cases where the group indiscriminately kills civilians, the destruction of property, forced recruitment of child soldiers, or abductions. Rather, to be considered as a targeted killing, the act must specifically target an individual or group of individuals".

Source(s): Reeder, Bryce & John Smith. 2020. “US Strikes in Somalia and Targeted Civilian Killings by Al-Shabaab: An Empirical Investigation”. Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol.15 (p.589, FN 1)

Terrorism

Definition: At present there is no single universally accepted or comprehensive definition of “terrorism” or “terrorist group”. Some common components of such designations include (but are not limited to):

  • Action: the use (or threat) of violence

  • Target: committed against civilians or non-combatants (often with the intent of reaching or influencing an audience beyond the immediate victims)

  • Purpose: for political, ideological, religious, or identity based goals

  • Impact: seeking to inflict fear, or terror (often on both the immediate victims and the wider audience)

Each U.N. member state maintains their own definition of “terrorism” consistent with international law (in particular international human rights law). As a result, all such designations maintain an inherently political component. For the purposes of CRTG Working Group publications, “terrorist groups” refer to those entities specifically designated by the United Nations Security Council, as well as specific groups designated by individual U.N. member states. When referring to “terrorism” CRTG Working Group likewise defers to U.N. designations, as well as to actions described by the four criteria listed above.

Source(s): “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019.

 

Transitional Federal Government (TFG)

Definition: The Transitional Federal Government was the government of Somalia from 2004 until 2012. It was very weak, and initially based out of Baidoa (until 2006) and retained little control outside of Mogadishu throughout its tenure.

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018)

U

Ubaidah, Abu

Definition: Current Emir of Al-Shabaab (2014-Present). (For more information see Ubaidah’s profile).

Source(s): Hansen, Stig Jarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia. (2016); Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); see additional sources in the profile.

 

Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF)

Definition: The Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) is the Ugandan military. It has been present in Somalia as part of AMISOM since 2006 and was essential in stopping Al-Shabaab from fully conquering Mogadishu in 2009-2011 after the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops.

Source(s):

 

United Nations (UN)

Definition: United Nations  

 

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

Definition: United Nations Security Council. It is one of the six main organs of the United Nations system, with a mandate to “maintain international peace and security... develop friendly relations among nations... cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights… and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.” It is the only organ of the UN system with the power to impose binding resolutions, and it is responsible for authorizing and overseeing peace operations.

Source(s): “What is the Security Council?” United Nations Security Council.

 

United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)

Definition: United Nations Mission in Somalia. This is a non-combat political support mission.

Source(s):

 

Unlawful Recruitment or Use

Definition: Is “recruitment or use of children under the age stipulated in the international treaties applicable to the armed force or armed group in question or under applicable national law”

Source(s): “Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups” (The Paris Principles) (2.6), January 30, 2007.

 

Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP)

Definition: Uppsala Conflict Data Program. UCDP is a “provider of data on organized violence and the oldest ongoing data collection project for civil war, with a history of almost 40 years”. It operates in partnership with the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO). It is generally among the most conservative sources, only reporting repeatedly confirmed by a variety of sources.

Source(s): UCDP

V

Vehicle Borne IEDs (VBIEDs)

Definition: Vehicle Borne IEDs (VBIEDs), include car bombs. They have increasingly been a favorite tactic of Al-Shabaab.

Source(s): U.S. Department of Homeland Security; “Attack Methodology: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)” UK National Counterterrorism Security Office. November 2, 2020.

 

Villa Somalia

Definition: The Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, Somalia.

 

Violent Extremism

Definition: As with Terrorism (see above), there is no universally agreed upon definition of “violent extremism”, as a result, individual U.N. member states each have their own definitions of “violent extremism”.  However, any definition of violent extremism must include the note that it is a diverse phenomenon, without clear definition that “it is neither new nor exclusive to any region, nationality or system of belief” (Plan of Action Para 2). Additionally, violent extremism has been frequently conflated with “terrorism”; however, the two terms are not synonymous. Instead, “violent extremism encompasses a wider category of manifestations and there is a risk that a conflation of the two terms may lead to the justification of an overly broad application of counter-terrorism measures, including against forms of conduct that should not qualify as terrorist acts” (Plan of Action Para 4). For the purposes of CRTG Working Group publications, “extremism” is defined using the Government Denmark’s guidelines, which define extremism as “totalitarian and antidemocratic ideologies, intolerance to the views of others, hostile imagery and a division into ‘them’ and ‘us.’” Thus, for the purposes of CRTG Working Group publications, “violent extremism” is acts of violence that are motivated by such ideologies, and “violent extremist groups” are groups that articulate such extremist views and that commit acts of violence in the name of these ideologies.

Source(s): “United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism” United Nations, January 1, 2015; “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019; Government of Denmark “A Common and Safe Future: An Action Plan to Prevent Extremist Views and Radicalisation Among Young People”, January 2009, p.8. Rabasa, Angel; Stacie L. Pettyjohn; Jeremy J. Ghez; and Christopher Boucek. “Deradicalizing Islamic Extremists” Rand, 2010.

W

West Gate Mall

Definition: A mall in Nairobi, Kenya that was the site of Al-Shabaab’s most infamous attack in 2013. Al-Shabaab attackers live-tweeted the several day-long siege, gaining international notoriety. (For more information see Al-Shabaab’s history section).

Source(s):

 

Wilaayada

Definition: Since 2008 Al-Shabaab has had a system of governorships or regions and provinces known as Wilaayada, each headed by a governor or Wilayaat (see above). (For more information on Wilaayada see the Al-Shabaab Organization page).

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); Hansen, Stig. 2016. Al-Shabaab in Somalia: the History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group. Oxford University Press (2nd Ed.).

 

Wilayaat

Definition: Al-Shabaab’s governors. Since 2008 Al-Shabaab has had a system of provincial governors. Originally the Wilayaat had little power, but their authority increased over time. (For more information on Wilayaat see the Al-Shabaab Organization page)

Source(s): Joseph, Dan & Harun Maruf Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally (2018); Hansen, Stig. 2016. Al-Shabaab in Somalia: the History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group. Oxford University Press (2nd Ed.).

X

Xeer

Definition: Xeer is defined as “a socially constructed set of norms established to safeguard security and social justice for Somalis in Somalia and in the diaspora” (Fox 1998). In practice, Xeer consists of Somali communal and traditional (or clan-based) laws. It governs interactions between individuals, clans and society as a whole in matters ranging from every-day functions to war and diplomacy. It is by definition secular, and thus conflicts with Sharia law at times, although in practice the two are often blended in Somalia.

Source(s): Abdile, Mahdi. 2012. “Customary Dispute Resolution in Somalia” African Conflicts and Peacebuilding Review 2(1): 87-110. Fox, Diana J. 1998. “Women’s Human Rights in Africa: Beyond the Debate over the Universality or Relativity of Human Rights.” African Studies Quarterly 2.3: 3–16.; See also various sources in Keating, Michael and Matt Waldman. War and Peace in Somalia (2018).

Y

Youth

Definition: Consistent with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) definition, “youth” is defined as “those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years.” However, unlike the term “children” (which is defined in article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child), there is no internationally agreed upon definition of the term “youth”. As a result, in general the term “child” is used to ensure greater specificity for those between the age of 15 to 18, consistent with UNDOC guidelines.

Source(s): UNDESA, “Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System: A Training Manual” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). 2019. (p.xi)

 

Yusuf, Mohammed

Definition: Mohammed Yusuf, a Sunni preacher, was born in Yobe state in 1970 and soon moved to Borno state in North Eastern Nigeria. He founded Boko Haram in 2002 and was the group’s first leader (Amiru’l-Amm). He was arrested during a police crackdown in which 700 of his followers were killed. Yusuf was later killed in custody in 2009 which is believed to have led to the group’s ultra-radical turn. 

Source(s): Kekilli, Emrah; Khayri Omar; Ibrahim Bachir Abdoulaye. “Anatomy of A Terrorist Organization: Boko Haram” SETA, January 2018. Mapping Militant Organizations. “Boko Haram”. Stanford University. Last modified March 2018.

Z

Zakat

Definition: (Alternatively spelled Zakah) Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, involving the giving of alms (generally 2.5 percent of annual income) for the poor and help the needy. Many Islamic arms groups (such as Al-Shabaab), however, have appropriated the term to refer to a simple tax that civilians must pay them.

Source(s): The Oxford Dictionary of Islam; BBC;