VICE News quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on an al Shabaab defector’s claim that Somalia’s Islamist extremist group is in “total collapse”:
Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center at international affairs think tank the Atlantic Council, is skeptical of Hersi’s statement. He said that the defector’s turnaround likely arose from the $3 million bounty on his head and the threat of vastly improved US intelligence and airstrike capabilities in the region. The man is also at odds with the group’s new leader and Godane’s relative, Ahmed Omar, Pham said.
“If I was on the outs with the terrorist organization I was associated with because of an internal power struggle, I’d have defected and become a ‘man of peace,’ too,” Pham told VICE News.