March 17, 2009
Somalia’s Text Message Insurgency
Somalia’s Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab is a fiercely secretive and ruthless organisation with alleged links to al-Qaeda. The Somalian Press reports.
The leaders of the group - which has taken over swathes of central and southern Somalia - are unknown to their subordinates.
The middle lieutenants get their orders through text messages, or phone calls from recognised voices, giving them proof the instructions are coming from the right person.
The emirs are said to use text messaging systems daily. The mid-ranking emirs and foot soldiers are given prepaid phone cards to carry out their day-to-day operations.
Text messages are also used to threaten those al-Shabab believes oppose them.
Anyone who ignores these warnings is likely to receive a visit from the gunmen.
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