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Mother's Anguish as 4 of Her Children Sneak Into Somalia

Thursday November 5, 2020
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers inspect the security fencing at the Kenya-Somali border on February 21, 2017
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers inspect the security fencing at the Kenya-Somali border on February 21, 2017DAILY NATION

Rukiyya Abdu, a smother of 11, on Wednesday, November 4, pleaded with Education CS George Magoha to allow for anti-terrorism lessons to be taught as a unit in schools across the country.

Speaking at Muslims for Human rights offices in Mombasa, the grieving mother gave a sorrowful tale of how she lost her 5th, 9th, 10th and lastborn to the outlawed Al Shabab group in Somalia.

The mother detailed how one by one her children disappeared only for her to learn that they had joined the outlawed terrorist group.

"Maybe my children would be with me today if someone had talked to them. It's not easy walking around and eating while not knowing what your children are going through. I would give anything to have my children back," she stated.

Rukkiya's life took a turn for the worse on one fateful morning when she woke up only to find two of her children missing.

One of the two was her 17-year-old daughter Saadia. "My daughter did not have any friends but she was a good girl. I was surprised one day when I got up in the morning and could not find her next to me," she narrated.

To her surprise, the family received a call from a strange number. It turned out to be a Kadhi in Somalia who had called to ask for consent to have Saadia wedded to a member of the Al Shabab group.

9 months later, the distraught mother said her daughter called her expressing her regret at having left home, asking for forgiveness.

However, the now 8-month pregnant teenager revealed that despite her desire to find her way back home, she was in fear for her life.

Her husband and his colleagues would never agree to it and even if she somehow managed to sneak back into the country, she was scared of running into the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU).

Saadia's 3 brothers also went down the same path but not all lived to tell the tale.

The 10th born, Osama Abdi who took off aged 18, died at the hands of unknown assailants. Abdul Satar Abdi, the last born in the family also disappeared after he was recruited by the Al Shabab militia.

His involvement with the terrorist group was why his name ended up on the wanted list of security forces, leading to his arrest in Mandera.

Abdul was later released on condition that he would be reporting to a police station every Monday without fail.

After a while, his mother says he simply disappeared, going on to claim that the police had a hand in it.

Al Shabab has carried out a number of large-scale devastating attacks in the region and numerous attacks in towns bordering Somalia and Kenya. 

In recent years, the group has relied upon its ability to build local support within Kenya.

Widespread poverty and unemployment lures youth to al Shabaab by offering cash or promises of work, researchers who interviewed defectors said. Even small gifts have lured some young men, their families said.

These new recruits have expanded the militants’ reach and complicated efforts by Kenyan security forces to thwart them.


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