Nageeye Ali Khalif, a former lecturer at Somali National University (SNU), has made waves with his recent announcement of joining the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
In an hour-long interview aired on jihadist radio, the 30-year-old Hargeisa-native declared his allegiance to Al-Shabaab and proclaimed a “jihad on Abyssinia,” referring to Ethiopia, and the western countries that support Somalia.
He was initially reported missing in October, shortly after a draft copy of a book believed to be authored by him began circulating online.
The interview, conducted in a dimly lit room with curtain-covered walls, depicted Nageeye, now sporting a growing beard and big hair, speaking without hesitation about his decision to join the extremist group.
He recounted his educational journey in Ethiopia, where he was awarded a scholarship by the Ethiopian government.
Addressing his departure from SNU under the Somali Federal Government, Nageeye expressed disillusionment with the state of governance in Mogadishu.
He recited a poem reflecting his dissatisfaction with the political landscape, citing it as a driving force behind his affiliation with Al-Shabaab.
During his tenure at SNU, where he taught journalism since 2018, questions arise regarding his compensation, particularly regarding any funds from international partners supporting the university.
While the university receives partial support from international sources, it remains unclear if Nageeye’s salary derived from such funding.
In his interview, Nageeye vehemently criticized Western nations and the Ethiopian government, labeling them as “colonizers and occupiers,” while portraying Al-Shabaab as freedom fighters against these perceived oppressors.
He further condemned former associates, including Minister of Interior Ahmed Moalim Fiqi and National Intelligence Director Mahad Salad, accusing them of collaborating with the alleged occupiers.
The interview also discussed the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a topic that drew condemnation from both Al-Shabaab and the Somali government.
Despite the gravity of Nageeye’s claims, neither the Somali government nor SNU officials have responded to his allegations.
However, his defection to Al-Shabaab echoes a troubling trend within Somali governance, with recent instances of government officials defecting to terrorist groups.
In recent incidents, a parliamentary employee along with two district officials in Mogadishu have joined the terrorist group. In July 2016, a suicide bomber responsible for several fatalities near the Mogadishu airport was identified as a former Somali lawmaker named Salah Nur Ismail, also known as Badbaado, who defected from parliament to join Al-Shabaab in 2010.