Ethiopian troops as part of an international force in Somalia fighting the Shabab. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times
AFP is first off with an article entitled “Marginalisation, mismanagement provoked Kenya massacre: experts”
Nairobi (AFP) – Kenya’s government says the university massacre of 148 people was a “surprise” that could happen anywhere: but experts say decades of marginalisation coupled with government failings meant the attack was hardly unexpected.
But experts say the anger that drove the gunmen has a long and dark history in an impoverished region — and they warn that without concerted action, the attacks wont stop.
On the same day, The New York Times weighs in with a title emphasizing how deprived the killers were: “Shabab Militants Learning to Kill on a Shoestring”
NAIROBI, Kenya — They have lost their leader, their ports, their checkpoints and their territory.
They have lost thousands of men and much of their money.
They have no fleet of armored personnel carriers like Boko Haram’s. Or poppy fields like the Taliban’s. Or oil fields like the Islamic State’s.
In the pecking order of the world’s leading terrorist groups, the Shabab militants, based in Somalia, operate on a shoestring budget. But as the attack on a Kenyan university last week showed, they have become proficient in something terrible: mass murder on the cheap.
So let’s agree that al-Shabab is not one of the better-funded killing machines. This does not explain anything. As NYT admits, the other groups are far better funded, and that has only made them far more lethal.
Furthermore, the old “marginalization leads to mass killing” does not explain why there so many marginalized non-Muslims groups in the world that do not behave this way. The world is full of marginalized groups.
A few of those groups (some in India and Nepal especially) remain devout Communists. Even so, their behaviour rarely hits the headlines.
Afterthought: Who is funding Boko Haram? For years they were small time then suddenly they seem to have become far more successful. Whoever it is might just decide to drop a few coins in box for al Shabab.