Slate quotes Africa Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton on ISIS’s influence over al-Shabaab as demonstrated by the militant group’s attack on Garissa University in Kenya:

Some experts believe ISIS’s influence may also have played a part in al-Shabaab’s massacre of 147 people, mainly Christian students at a Kenyan university, on April 2. The Atlantic Council’s Bronwyn Bruton pointed out that al-Shabaab had previously moved away from attacks on students due to public backlash in Somalia, and the fact that it was re-embracing the tactic could be “a sign of a final evolution where it is no longer interested in maintaining political credibility or gaining the support of local communities.” The Somali group has reportedly been losing ground to the Islamic State in the competition for foreign recruits, so the attack may have been an effort to re-establish its credibility to an international audience. This could be part of an effort by the traditionally al-Qaida-linked group to either compete with ISIS or pivot to an alliance with it.   

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