The al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia has released a new ISIS-style execution video purporting to show the execution of a group of male Somali civilians who were forced into the sea to swim for their lives and fatally gunned down by a firing squad of militants using machine guns.
In the 2-minute video titled “Remembrance 2,” released by aL-Shabaab’s media wing AL-Kataib Foundation, extremists are seen leading at least six fully clothed male civilians that look to be in their 20s to the ocean and forcing them to swim out to sea. Once the men began swimming for their lives, the militant gunmen unloaded a barrage of bullets, brutally killing the civilians.
Along with the splashes from bullets hitting the water, the video also shows the bullets drilling victims in their heads. The video then shows the men’s dead bodies floating in the water. The bodies are thought to be left unburied and one even washed up on the shore, the AhlulBayt News Agency reported.
The video is the second in a two-part series released by the AL-Qaeda-associated terrorist group. The group also released additional footage in the video, which showed the execution of another handful of Somali male civilians.
The second execution featured al-Shabaab fighters leading a group of seven men from a small prison room onto a beach somewhere along the Somali coast. The civilians were forced to form a human chain by holding onto the the person’s waist in front of them.
As the men walked on the beach several fighters stood on guard to ensure that they didn’t escape; the civilians were then forced to sit down on the sand where they were blindfolded with material from their own clothing, The Daily Mail reports.
The men were subsequently forced to kneel by the shoreline where they were fatally shot in the back of their heads. As they were being killed, some of their bodies fell into the ocean while other bodies fell back on the ledge.
Although it’s unclear as to why the militants killed the men and how they were captured, Jasmine Opperman, the African director at the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, said she thinks al-Shabaab was trying to take a page out of the Islamic State’s playbook by publishing a propaganda execution video designed to increase its popularity among international jihadists.
“In its desperation to regain international attention and prestige, al-Shabaab uses the Islamic State’s propaganda tactics and brutality sending a message they not only have the capacity to execute at free will, but also announcing their undeterred presence,” Opperman told Fox News. “More than likely, al-Shabaab is sending signals to the Islamic State that there is little difference between the groups.”
Although it’s speculated that the point of al-Shabaab’s execution video is to drive support and recruitment, Clarion Project national security analyst, Ryan Mauro, thinks the video will have a negative impact on al-Shabaab because it didn’t justify why the militants were killing the civilians.
“It does nothing to persuade jihadists to support al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda instead of ISIS and its brutality will only further alienate Muslims,” Mauro told Fox News. “When ISIS brags about massacring civilians, it is self-aware enough to include lengthy justifications. Al-Shabaab fails to do that and just looks like serial killers.”
With more and more Islamic extremists and organizations pledging their allegiances to ISIS, Mauro said al-Shabaab is afraid that more of its own fighters will do the same.
“Al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda desperately need to convince jihadist audiences that it is effective and not yesterday’s news, especially after fellow al-Qaeda affiliate Boko Haram in Nigeria swore allegiance to ISIS,” Mauro said. “It is known that a prominent American member of al-Shabaab has defected to ISIS, so the group should assume that many other supporters are thinking of doing the same thing.”