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Somalia blocks nearly 4 dozen pro-Al Shabaab platforms from operating

Saturday October 8, 2022


Mogadishu (HOL) - Somali government said that it got 40 social media accounts suspended after it accused them of disseminating pro-Al Shabaab propaganda.

Deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Adala said at a press conference at the Ministry of Information on Saturday that any media house or individual found spreading that group's violent extremist ideology will also be targeted for removal. 

"Any media house or individual found spreading that group's message will be removed from social media at the request of the Somali government," said the Minister.

The government did not release a list of the nearly four dozen social media accounts removed on Saturday.

The federal government has for years ago issued an order prohibiting the amplification of al-Shabab voices, which the local media has followed. However, it is unclear whether the local press will comply by refraining from broadcasting the group's attacks and images.

Minister added that the government's war against al-Shabab is three-pronged: direct military, economic, and ideology. The deputy minister said the government is now focusing on destroying the centers that spread the group's news and doctrine.

Al Shabaab has an active online footprint and has followed other militant extremist groups in establishing mass media, social media and news media, despite Africa lagging far behind the rest of the world in terms of broadband connectivity, social media usage and overall media penetration.

The group uses its media affiliates to broadcast propaganda, death threats and calls to mobilization.

Somali government forces, backed by local pro-government militia groups and international partners, have intensified a joint offensive against al Shabab, primarily in Hiiraan, Galgadud, Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, with hundreds of militants killed in recent operations and dozens of rural villages being liberated by government troops.

Several of the group's top brass, including the second-in-command and their spokesperson, were killed by government forces and their allies. Although the death of Ali Mohamed Rage, Al-Shabaab's chief spokesperson since 2009 and an influential member of the group's Shura Council, could not be independently confirmed.

More than 30 militants were killed in separate government forces operations in Middle and Lower Shabelle regions following heavy fighting on Friday, according to the Somali army officials.

Last month, over a hundred al-Shabab militants were killed during offensives to retake territory from the Islamist militant group in the Hiiraan region.

In retaliation the group has laid IED's along main supply roads, poisoning wells and razed villages.

Senior army commanders said that fierce firefights between the military and al-Shabab occurred in the villages of Aborey and Yasooman, both of which were later recaptured by the forces.


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