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Life After al-Shabaab

Somali militant group al-Shabaab recruits thousands of foot soldiers, but also needs people to provide public services in the area it controls. The Somali militant group al-Shabaab recruits thousands of foot soldiers, but also needs people to provide public services in the area it controls. Any caught trying to leave are put to death. At the same time, the government tries to encourage defectors, and runs rehab centres to help them re-enter society. There are efforts to spread the word inside al-Shabaab territory about this defectors’ programme. Colourful leaflets have been designed, with images for those who cannot read showing members of al-Shabaab being rescued, and a phone number they can call. These efforts have led to an increase in defections, with more than 60 leaving al-Shabaab in a two-month period earlier this year. The aim of Serendi is to rehabilitate the defectors physically, mentally and spiritually, and provide them with skills so they can slowly integrate into life outside, either back with their home communities or elsewhere. Before they are admitted, the defectors are screened by the National Intelligence and Security Agency to make sure they have voluntarily disengaged from the group and denounced its ideology.

SOURCE: BBC

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