The Islamic State (Isis) is set to expand in East Africa as an emerging terrorist group named Jahba East Africa has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The new group, thought to be manned by disaffected former al-Shabaab members, gave bayah, or an oath of allegiance, to the Daesh (Isis) leader and said that he was the "rightful khalifa (leader) of all Muslims."
A press release issued by the extremists said fighters from Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda had all joined the new terror group. They have also criticised al-Shabaab for being a "psychological and physical prison," according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist activity throughput the world.
In Libya, on the Mediterranean coast where Isis has made considerable gains in the last year, there has been talk that al-Qaeda, Isis and the Muslim Brotherhood could form a shared governing council. But there have been disputes among al-Shabaab militants for over a year on whether to give bayah to al-Qaeda or Isis.
Jahba East Africa issued a statement: "On behalf all the East Africans in al-Shabaab and those that seek to open new up fronts in East Africa. We in Jahba East Africa are advising all East Africans to leave al-Shabaab and their sponsor groups, like al-Muhajiroun, al-Hijra and Ansar Islam." The statement was later published on Twitter.
"Like al-Shabaab, the sponsor groups have not understood the binding obligation of the khalifah [caliphate]. We are telling the mujahedeen in East Africa that al-Shabaab has now become a psychological and physical prison. To pledge bayah to Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is freedom for the mujahedeen in East Africa and opportunity to wage jihad according to the Sunnah against the enemies of Allah."
Al-Shabaab, which means "The Youth", launched its own insurgency on major Somali cities in 2009, controlling the capital and swathes of southern Somalia, until it was pushed out by domestic and international forces around 2012. Nigerian-based Boko Haram pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi in March 2015 after abandoning support for al-Qaeda. Isis has recently released propaganda videos calling for the creation of a military territory dubbed 'Wilayat Somalia'.