ISIS has released a video purportedly showing a group of Al Shabaab militants switching allegiance from Al Qaeda and pledging loyalty to the Islamic State.
The video, obtained by The Foreign Desk, shows several dozen young fighters sitting together with one jihadi issuing a call to all Muslims, but specifically the ‘Mujahideen in Somalia,’ to join the ‘khilafah,’ or army of the Islamic State.
He praises Abdiqadir Mumin, a charismatic preacher who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State last month, in the first such move by the Somali terror group, which aligned itself with Al Qaeda in 2012.
At the conclusion of his speech, the group joins hands in a collective ‘bayah,’ or pledge of allegiance.
According to the U.K.’s Channel 4, Mumin, who once lived in the U.K. is “thought to have influenced dozens of young men from Britain to join Al Shabaab.”
Al Qaeda does not recognize the Islamic State, with leader Ayman Al Zawahiri accusing his counterpart, ISIS’ Al Baghdadi, of “sedition.”
The video release represents another triumph for the Islamic State’s highly sophisticated recruitment drive, as it links up with other jihadi groups in the Middle East and Africa, while dealing a blow to Al Qaeda.
Some analysts have pointed to a factional split in Al Shabaab’s ranks, with Mumin and his supporters stationed in the Galgala Hills of Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region. Many of the more senior ranking members of the group stationed in the south of the country remain loyal to Al Qaeda.
Earlier this year, Al Shabaab militants carried out a deadly attack on a Kenyan university, killing 147 and wounding 79. Witnesses said the terrorists stormed the dormitory singling out Christians who were shot on sight while allowing Muslims to leave.