n Institute for Security Studies Papers - Radicalisation and al-Shabaab recruitment in Somalia




Effective counter-radicalisation strategies should be based on an empirical understanding of why people join terrorist organisations. Researchers interviewed former al-Shabaab fighters and identified a complex array of reasons for why they joined the organisation. Interviewers developed a profile of typical al-Shabaab recruits and identified factors facilitating their recruitment, including religious identity, socioeconomic circumstances (education, unemployment), political circumstances and the need for a collective identity and a sense of belonging. The reasons for al-Shabaab's rise are discussed and recommendations are made to the Somali government, countries in the region and international organisations and donors on how to counter radicalisation and recruitment to al-Shabaab.


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