My SMS relationship with al-Shabab

Mary Harper — Al-Shabab, the militant Islamist group operating in Somalia and Kenya, likes to communicate with journalists by SMS. But receiving their text messages and talking to them on the phone can be an unnerving, and at times surreal, experience.
Article Keydmedia Online
My SMS relationship with al-Shabab

The other morning I woke up to a text message and missed call from al-Shabab.

As always, the message was written in perfect English. It informed me about a film al-Shabab has made called Beyond the Shadows. It said the film gave an "accurate portrayal" of what happened when French commandoes last year tried - and failed - to rescue a suspected French intelligence agent held hostage by the group.

A few days later I got another call from al-Shabab. The clear, relaxed voice on the other end of the phone told me I was about to receive a text message about the group

Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.