The Twitter account of Somalia’s Al Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents was suspended Friday, days after they posted photographs of a French commando they killed and threatened to execute Kenyan hostages.
A message from Twitter on the English-language @HSMPress account read that the account had “been suspended”, without elaborating.
However, the Shebab’s Somali- and Arabic-language accounts continue to operate, and the extremists used their Arabic account to denounce the suspension as censorship.
“This is new evidence of the freedom of expression in the West,” the message read.
Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, a senior Shebab official said that the suspension of their twitter account was making us proud and that their account was “the true source of valuable information that reflected the true picture of Somalia.”
The Shebab official said “that the cry of the French and Kenyans forced the account to be suspended.”
“We have thousands of ways to pass our message…it is unfortunate that organisations that call themselves the guardians of freedom of expression are silent about the closure of our twitter account,” he said.
On Wednesday the Shebab used the account to release a link to a video of several Kenyan hostages they said they will execute within three weeks if the Kenyan government does not release prisoners held on terrorism charges.
Earlier this month they posted graphic photographs of a French soldier killed during a failed bid to release a French agent whom the Shebab had held for more than three years. They later used Twitter to announce the hostage’s execution.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault denounced the publication of the photographs as a “particularly odious display.”
Twitter warns that accounts can be suspended if they violate its rules, which include the publishing of “direct, specific threats of violence against others”, according to regulations posted on its website.
Users are also blocked if they use Twitter “for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities”.
Last year the Shebab used the account — which was opened in December 2011, and most recently had more than 20,000 followers — for a series of exchanges with Kenya’s army spokesman, taunting the Kenyans after they invaded southern Somalia to attack the Islamists.
Shebab fighters are on the back foot in Somalia, reeling from a string of losses as they battle a 17,000-strong African Union force as well as Ethiopian troops and Somali forces.
The Shebab would use their account to goad Kenya’s army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir, calling the Kenyan military “inexperienced boys”.
And, after Chirchir warned that herds of donkeys were a potential target — since they were viewed as Shebab convoys — the Islamists retorted that Kenya’s “eccentric battle strategy has got animal rights groups quite concerned”.
In January 2012, during a live web chat platform that the US State Department used to engage with international media, Washington’s senior advisor for innovation Alec Ross said terrorist organisations should be “dismantled and destroyed”.
“And so for me to think about whether they should have the right to use Twitter or not, I go to a more fundamental question, which is: Do they have the right to exist or not? And my answer to that is no. … Shebab and other institutions that are purveyors of terror are going to get absolutely no sympathy from me, and they certainly aren’t going to see me advocate for their rights,” Ross said.


  1. Wait till the Arms Embargo is lifted the SNA will be in hargeisa in seconds the Ethiopian stooge (SNM) will have nowhere to hide.


      like last time, trust me you better start digging graves in garowe and boosaaso as millions of daroods will be tasting the jewish fate of WW2.

      • @Kaboon

        Your you do know that your joke about the Jewish part is a prisonable offence in the West lol

  2. The clan state Maamulka Somaliland must not talk or think to represent the peoples of Awdalland, Khatumoland and Maakhirland. If the isaaq want to secede, let them secede with cities where they form the majority. We don't need you. Who needs khat junkies? But leave alone our unionist brothers and sisters from gudabursi, issa, warsengali, dhulbant and some from isaaq as well.

  3. Great article, but we need to realize Somaliland's Sovereignty has been decided long ago by its people and won't be reversed until its people overwhelmingly wish to do so, untill then no need to respond to arguments of blind people. As of attacking Somaliland when the Arms Embargo is lifted on the Somali National Army, this just shows your values as warmonger and people full of hate. Didn't history teach u any thing. you have tried to exterminate the people of Somaliland before in the name of Daroodism using the might of SNA and other people in the union you have brain washed with propaganda. We have rounded you up and given you amnesty. And while you were in chaotic and tumultuous time we have aided you and took care of you, even feeding your refugees, giving shelter to your displaced people. today all of Somaliland is crawling with people from Puntland and from other parts of Somalia. Despite the fact that you harbor Alshebabe, Pirates and criminals warlords our National Army never invaded your territory. Now that there is a slight chance that you might be on the road to recovery, you threaten us with WAR in the name of Somali Weyn we invented, how sad…….that just shows you state of mind, ignorance and backwardness. Grow up and lift your people from poverty and protect the poor Somali women and children suffering under the hands of Kenyans and Ethiopians and maybe become a responsible member of the Horn of African community

  4. Al Shabab has no place in the Somali society. They are butchers from a strange world. The desintegration of Somalia gave them the chance to grow and propagate their poisonous idealogy. Somalis are shafiii moslems. They don't harm anybody and have never killed a person because of his religion. Al Shabab and their likes are new to the Somalis and the world and are one of today's insecurity problems. Somalis should get rid of them otherwise they will never be settled.