Somalia places bounty on al-Shabab leaders

Apr 10, 2015, 3:18 AM EDT
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers arrive at a hospital to escort the bodies of the attackers to be put on public view, in Garissa, Kenya Saturday, April 4, 2015.
AFP/Getty Images

Somalia's government has placed a bounty on the top 11 leaders of the militant Islamist al-Shabab group, reports the BBC.

Top of the list is its chief Ahmed Diriye with $250,000 (£169,000) offered for information leading to his capture.

A list of their names, nicknames and origins was issued after a cabinet meeting - and a week after al-Shabab's attack on a Kenyan university. Official figures put the number of dead in the raid on Garissa University College at 148 - most of them students.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have promised a "long, gruesome war" against Kenya, which has troops in the African Union force in neighbouring Somalia.

The military push against al-Shabab, experts say, is working, but it may have exacerbated an internal rift within the group, adding fuel to the hardline members whose interests lie beyond Somalia, writes the International Business Times.

“Al-Shabab has never been monolithic. It’s a rather confusing coalition of overlapping ideological groups and clan interests,” said Peter Pham, head of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

The group has its own internal factions. While some members are focused on gaining territory and power in Somalia, a growing faction is more interested in being part of a global jihad movement. The hard-line jihadists are taking over and pushing al-Shabab to increasingly desperate measures to prove themselves members of a more global movement -- which may result in more large-scale attacks as it finds itself cornered.