The ‘Off-Ramp’ from al-Shabaab: Disengagement During the Offensive in Somalia
Al-Shabaab has been evicted – at least temporarily – from scores of towns and villages in the central Somali Federal Member States of Hirshabelle and Galmudug since summer 2022. While this began as an ‘organic’ uprising led by clan militias (the Ma’awisley) against the insurgent’s excessive demands for ‘taxation’ and recruits, it soon transformed into a major state offensive. Within this context, in May 2023 our team conducted interviews with former members of al-Shabaab who had been based in these locations to explore how and why they left the organization, with a particular focus on the extent to which their decisions to disengage were influenced by the offensive, and how their clans helped motivate and facilitate exit.
Suggested citation: Khalil, James, Yahye Abdi, Sif Heide-Ottosen, Abdullahi Ahmed Nor, & Martine Zeuthen. The ‘Off-Ramp’ from al-Shabaab: Disengagement During the Offensive in Somalia. Washington, DC: RESOLVE Network, 2023. https://doi.org/10.37805/lpbi2023.1.
This publication and research were produced with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Africa Bureau. RESOLVE would like to thank USAID’s Africa Bureau for its generous support for this report and RESOLVE’s Learning from Local Peacebuilding Approaches Research Initiative.
The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the RESOLVE Network, acknowledged partners contributing to the production of this publication,
the U.S. Institute of Peace, or any entity of the U.S. government.
Updated: December 18, 2023.