Bishop warns of ISIS growth in Somalia

Bishop warns of ISIS growth in Somalia Bishop Giorgio Bertin

As it loses its grip in the Middle East, the Islamic State is finding a foothold in Somalia, said a bishop who oversees the Catholic Church in the troubled country.

The insurgent group – linked to mass killings, abductions and beheadings in Iraq and Syria, where it is facing defeat – see Somalia as a suitable base due to its lawlessness according to Bishop Giorgio Bertin, apostolic administrator of Mogadishu.

“I think they have chosen Somalia because there is no central authority. The country also represents a good possibility for them to continue their search for an Islamic state or, at least, they can continue their ideology without many obstacles,” Bishop Bertin said.

Somalia has experienced chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew President Mohammed Siad Barre. The conflict remains one of Africa’s longest civil wars.


But in 2006, the war took a different twist with the emergence of the al-Shabab extremist group, which swept across the country, enforcing a radical form of Shariah (Islamic law). Since then, the country has served as the traditional base for the militants who are in the al-Qaida network affiliate in East Africa.

The emergence of the Islamic State faction will complicate the scenario in an already fragmented country, Bishop Bertin said.