Abdul (35 years old) can no longer sit still. He was a fighter once in one of the most brutal terrorist groups in the world. “Al-Shabaab messed up my life. My head, my heart, my chances. Everything.”
Abdul, who for safety reasons changed his name, constantly fiddles with his breast pocket. Every warrior from the Somali terrorist group keeps a grenade there to blow himself up in case of capture. “I always feared getting stuck behind a branch and accidentally blowing myself up.”
Abdul is Kenyan and was recruited in the Majengo slum of the Kenyan capital Nairobi by al-Shabaab in 2011 to fight in Somalia. “I wanted employment and the recruiter promised me a job as a driver.” Hundreds of Kenyans have been traveling to Somalia in recent years, from the Kenyan coastal strip and from the ghettos in Nairobi.
About a quarter of the Kenyan population is Muslim and lives mainly on the coast and in the poor lowlands that extend to the border with Somalia. Al-Shabaab controls territory in Central and Southern Somalia and set up a network of cells in Kenya. The terror group recruits poor young people in Kenya and offers them a salary. When they die, their families receive $ 500 and the deceased awaits 72 virgins in heaven.
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