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Al-Shabaab’s Mata Hari Intelligence Network

A researcher has worked to document a surprising element within Al-Shabaab’s operational structure: the use of sex workers and street children in the group’s intelligence apparatus. “If you want information here,” said one interviewee, “you use the prostitutes and street kids – they see everything, go everywhere, and nobody notices them.” The use of such a network runs counter to many assumptions about the group as a non-rational actor with stringent ideological purity. Their use of these networks may indicate that the group is innovating in ways that will help it survive and expand amidst the concentrated efforts by AMISOM and their international partners to eradicate the group. 

Source: Al-Shabaab’s Mata Hari Network

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