Join Alan Boswell and his guests for Season 2 of The Horn podcast.
Podcast / Africa 20+ minutes

The Horn (Season 3)

In Season 3 of The Horn, host Alan Boswell and guests analyse events from across the Horn of Africa, including civil war in Ethiopia, military coup in Sudan and the ongoing climate crisis facing the region as well as a special series on “Eastern Africa’s Jihadis”. Produced by Maeve Frances. Episodes from other series of The Horn can be found here: Season 1, Season 2 and Season 4.

Special Episode: What Next After Ruto is Declared Winner of Kenya’s Nail-biter Election?

Kenyans went to the polls last week in what turned out to be a closely fought but so far strikingly peaceful election. After six tense days of vote counting, Deputy President William Ruto was declared Kenya’s next President with a wafer-thin majority. While the election has been broadly regarded as free and fair, his challenger, Raila Odinga, a political heavyweight backed by outgoing President and former rival Uhuru Kenyatta, has launched a legal challenge to the results. 

This week on The Horn, Alan speaks to Murithi Mutiga, Crisis Group’s Program Director for Africa, to discuss how Kenya’s nail-biting election has shaped up and the possible fallout of Odinga’s challenge. They outline both candidates' backgrounds and assess their respective campaigns in the build-up to election day. They talk about the significance of Odinga’s challenge to the vote, the role of Kenya’s electoral commission and the resilience of the country's democratic institutions in the wake of the election. They also assess how far ethnic divisions have played a role in the outcome of the election and where Kenya’s democracy might be headed if Ruto’s presidency is confirmed by the Supreme Court. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more analyses, check out Crisis Group’s Kenya country page.

We want to hear from you as we start preparing Season Four of The Horn! If you have any feedback or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover next season, you can write to [email protected] or get in touch with Alan directly on Twitter, @AlanBoswell.

Episode 14: End of Season Special: Ethiopia, Kenya-DRC and the Drought

To mark the end of Season Three of The Horn, Alan discusses a few major developments in the region with Crisis Group experts. First up, he speaks to William Davison, Senior Analyst for Ethiopia, to discuss the prospect for possible peace talks in Ethiopia after the humanitarian ceasefire declared in March between federal and Tigrayan forces. They discuss the recent welcome steps towards peace talks, the remaining hurdles towards holding such negotiations and the major obstacles that any peace talks will need to overcome. They also discuss Ethiopia’s deteriorating economic situation and the ongoing insurgency in the Oromia region.

Next, Alan speaks with Nelleke van de Walle, Project Director for the Great Lakes region, to discuss Kenya’s recent diplomatic foray in the eastern DR Congo and how it is reshaping regional politics. Alan and Nelleke discuss the factors behind the warming ties between Kinshasa and Nairobi and the reasons for Kenya’s recent initiatives towards the DR Congo. They discuss the proposal for the East African Community to deploy a joint force under Kenyan command to fight armed groups in the eastern DR Congo, and they unpack the recent peace talks Nairobi hosted between Congolese authorities and armed groups. They also chat about how the looming presidential election in Kenya could impact Nairobi’s future diplomatic role. 

Finally, Alan talks to Nazanine Moshiri, Senior Analyst for Climate & Security in Africa. They break down the impact of the devastating historic drought hitting much of the Horn region. Nazanine explains which parts of the region are worst hit and outlines how this crisis is exacerbated by the global commodity shocks, which are driving up food prices as well. They also highlight the worrying repercussions, from major displacement to land disputes and intercommunal conflict. Back from recent visits to the northern Great Rift Valley and Laikipia county in Kenya, Nazanine talks about how the drought is upending life there and how the climate shocks are intermixing with rising political tensions and violence ahead of Kenya’s elections.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more analysis, check out Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa and Great Lakes regional pages.

We want to hear from you! As Season Three of The Horn draws to a close, if you have any feedback or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover next season, you can write to [email protected] or get in touch with Alan directly on Twitter, @AlanBoswell.

Episode 13: A Strategy for Exploring Talks with Al-Shabaab in Somalia

Somalia has been fighting the Al-Shabaab jihadist insurgency for well over a decade. After reclaiming control of Mogadishu and other cities in the early 2010s, government forces – with the support of African Union troops – have made limited progress since. Instead, Al-Shabaab has adopted guerilla tactics and managed to consolidate control of rural areas, while regularly conducting deadly attacks on Somali cities. A recent Crisis Group report recommended that stakeholders should at least begin to explore the feasibility of eventual political talks with Al-Shabaab, alongside pursuing existing military operations, to add another tool in the struggle to bring the longstanding conflict to an end.

This week on The Horn, Alan talks to Omar Mahmood, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for East Africa, to discuss the risks and opportunities that this approach might incur. They assess the strengths and limitations of the military campaign against Al-Shabaab and its prospects for success, as African Union forces inch closer to the end of their mandate in the country. They discuss previous attempts to engage Al-Shabaab and the group’s willingness for dialogue. They talk about the impact of multiple failed rainy seasons in Somalia and the need for humanitarian assistance that reaches populations in both government and insurgent-controlled areas. They also discuss the wider implications of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab outlook in the region, including how the country’s neighbours and international partners might respond to the prospect of engagement with a self-professed al-Qaeda affiliate.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Check out Crisis Group’s report, “Considering Political Engagement with Al-Shabaab in Somalia”, in full to learn more about the situation in Somalia and efforts to bring the conflict to an end.

Episode 12: How Somalia’s Election Reshapes the Region

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected on the slogan: “Somalia at peace with itself and at peace with the world”. As Somalia’s former leader returns to power after five years, the country faces immense challenges. For one, the Islamist group Al-Shabaab continues to control significant swathes of territory, as the new leadership tries to regain ground and make improvements in the security sector. Looking beyond Somalia’s borders, Hassan Sheikh has promised a reset in foreign policy, seeking to mend ties with both its neighbours and traditional partners further afield in the Gulf and the West.

This week on The Horn, Alan talks to Abdi Aynte, a former journalist who served as Somalia’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation in Hassan Sheikh’s previous administration between the years 2015 and 2017. Joining from Mogadishu, Abdi talks about the mood in the capital after a protracted election process and people's hopes for what the new presidency might bring. They dissect President Farmajo’s record over the last five years, and discuss the prospects for improving the country’s security outlook amid the stalemate with Al-Shabaab. In terms of foreign policy, they discuss the numerous issues facing the incoming administration in the Horn and further afield, from repatriating 5,000 Somali soldiers stranded in Eritrea, to finalising the country’s international debt relief program.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Somalia country page.

Episode 11: What Africa Really Thinks about the War in Ukraine

Many African countries are suffering from the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: disrupted wheat supplies, soaring prices for industrial goods and raw materials, as well as a shifting of the world’s attention from the needs of the Global South. At the same time, African diplomacy on the Ukraine war has been mostly muted. While a lot of media coverage is given to the handful of countries with close ties to Moscow, most African states have chosen not to voice a strong position on the war, focusing on priorities closer to home. Strategic considerations and the need to appease international partners, including China, are also driving this ambivalence — a reality still poorly understood by many Western policymakers.

This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Dr. Hassan Khannenje, director at the HORN International Institute for Strategic Studies based in Nairobi. They talk about how the continent views Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and why not all African countries have bought into the West’s perspective on the war. They discuss Africa’s place in the world order and how its foreign policy is driven by a mixture of both ideological commitment to non-alignment and strategic interests, as it continues to tread a careful line on the Ukraine war.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more on the Ukraine war, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Ukraine country page.

Episode 10: What Now for Russia in Africa?

Russia’s relations with Africa are under even greater scrutiny in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine and amid the mixed reaction of African states toward the new war in Europe. Over recent years, Moscow has bolstered ties with countries all over the continent, particularly those plagued by internal violence and disillusioned with Western powers. Russia remains a leading arms supplier and Russian private military contractors continue to expand their presence, most recently in Mali. Whether Russia is successfully pursuing a broader strategy, or merely engaging in tactical power plays, remains a matter of debate. Russia has long sought a naval base on the Red Sea and wields its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for influence on the continent. 

This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Samuel Ramani, author of an upcoming book on Russia in Africa. They talk about Russia’s historic goals and current strategy on the continent, differing reactions to the invasion of Ukraine, and why some African leaders pursue closer relations with Russia. They also discuss the new significance of African relations for Moscow today and how the war in Ukraine is already changing power dynamics on the continent. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more on the Ukraine War, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Ukraine country page.

Episode 9: A Vicious Cycle: Climate and Conflict in the Horn of Africa

Extreme weather events in Africa are becoming increasingly common, often striking in areas already prone to insecurity and scarcity. While the relationship between climate and security is both complex and context-specific, the broad risks are clear: modelling shows that temperature increases of as little as half a degree could, in some contexts, lead to a 10-20 per cent increase in the risk of violence. Erratic weather has already contributed to conflicts across the Horn – from Somalia to Kenya and South Sudan – a clear demonstration of climate change’s impact as a threat multiplier, exacerbating insecurity and existing tensions.

This week on The Horn, guest host Nicolas Delaunay, Crisis Group’s senior communications officer for Africa, is joined by Nazanine Moshiri, Crisis Group’s senior analyst for climate & security, to untangle this complex relationship and its implications for the continent. They break down how changing weather patterns and natural disasters have shaped, and sometimes triggered, conflicts in Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan, often in very different ways. They also discuss the need for better adaptation measures and ask how Africa can best reckon with climate change, stressing the urgency of putting climate security on the agenda ahead of COP27. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more of Crisis Group’s analysis, make sure to check out our Climate Change and Conflict page.

Episode 8: The Ukraine War: A View From Africa

Africa’s response to the Ukraine crisis has been far from united. Emerging rifts were on stark display during the historic UN General Assembly session in early March: only around half of African states supported the resolution’s denunciation of Russian aggression. Where some countries robustly condemned the invasion as a flagrant violation of crucial norms, others were more hesitant, often highlighting the West’s inconsistent commitment to those very principles.

This week on The Horn, guest host Elissa Jobson talks with Philani Mthembu, executive director at the South Africa-based Institute for Global Dialogue, to make sense of these disparate responses to the Ukraine war. They discuss the division at the UN, perceptions of both the conflict and Russia across the continent more broadly, and how the historical legacies of colonialism and liberation struggles inform views on contemporary geopolitics. They talk about perceived Western double standards, and about how both the racist treatment of African and Asian refugees and media coverage of the conflict reinforce these narratives. They also sketch out the war’s economic and diplomatic implications and ask how Africa can forge a united continental position to better shield itself from the fallout.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more of Crisis Group’s analysis, visit our Ukraine regional page, and make sure to read our recent commentary: “The Ukraine War: A Global Crisis?”, for perspectives from around the world.

Episode 7: Challenges for the African Union at Twenty

The African Union (AU) faces worrying headwinds in the year ahead. As the organisation approaches its twentieth anniversary, the democratic norms enshrined in its peace and security mandate look increasingly under threat. A recent coup in Burkina Faso just days before this year's AU summit marked the latest in a string of military takeovers that have toppled democratic governments in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. The Union’s response has sometimes been worryingly muted, with some member states reluctant to take swift and decisive action.

This week on The Horn, guest host Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, is joined by Dr Solomon Ayele Dersso, Founding Director of Amani Africa, an independent policy and research organisation with a focus on the African Union, to talk about these concerning developments. They discuss the recent AU summit, the dividing line between member states and the mixed responses to unconstitutional takeovers in Sudan, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso. They also take a deep dive into the history of the AU’s commitment to democratic norms and the peace and security architecture developed to safeguard them and promote stability in the continent. They ask how successful the organisation has been in its aspiration to find “African solutions to African problems”, plotting out the AU’s place within global collective security as it turns twenty.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more on the African Union, explore our recent briefing, ‘Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2022’.

Episode 6: Sudan’s Political Impasse

Sudan has been at a political impasse since a military coup in October removed the civilian-led government that had been leading the country's transition since the toppling of Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Attempts at wrangling a new power-sharing agreement with the military have so far failed to break the deadlock: a deal with former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok proved fruitless, prompting him to resign in early January. Meanwhile, Sudanese people have mobilised in huge numbers across the country, demanding the military relinquish control of government and calling for a complete overhaul of the status quo.  

This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Kholood Khair, managing partner at Insight Strategy Partners, to make sense of this shifting political landscape. They talk about the key developments since the coup, both in Khartoum and throughout the country, the ways in which established political actors involved in the transition have responded, and the dynamic forms of civilian mobilisation that are disrupting established political norms. They also delve into the origins, impact and demands of resistance committees and question whether there is any way of bringing these various actors together to break Sudan’s crippling political impasse and chart a path to democracy. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Sudan page. 

Special Episode: Putting the Horn of Africa Back Together

The project of forging a more united Horn of Africa has been a clear victim of the myriad crises rippling through East Africa. Regional security infrastructure has collapsed and attempts at multilateral conflict resolution have floundered. For its part, the body responsible for ensuring regional security, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has become dysfunctional and seems incapable of fulfilling its peace and security mandate.

This week we are bringing you a special episode of The Horn produced in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES). Alan is joined by expert guests, Charles Onyango-Obbo, veteran Ugandan journalist, Betty Kaari Murungi, a Kenyan lawyer with wide regional experience, and Harry Verhoeven, an author and scholar at Columbia University, for a panel discussion on IGAD and the collapse of multilateral cooperation in the Horn. They talk about IGAD’s roots as an organisation tackling desertification and drought, the role of key players within this regional forum, continuing wariness toward outside actors and the recent political dynamics that have contributed to inaction and lethargy. They ask whether there is any way of reversing the region's political fragmentation and building a lasting order that can stem the flow of deadly conflict.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Episode 5: Tigrayan Forces Retreat in Ethiopia 

Recent weeks have seen yet another major turn of events in Ethiopia’s civil war. Only a month ago, the momentum was firmly on the Tigray side after an advance toward the capital. In response, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed exhorted citizens to enlist and vowed to lead a counteroffensive from the frontlines. Foreign governments also swooped in with support, especially drones, which altered the conflict’s dynamics. Federal and allied regional forces have thus pushed back the Tigray forces, turning momentum once again and staving off any assault on Addis Ababa. Still, there are few reasons to expect a swift resolution: the Tigrayans have since had their own resurgence and there is little political appetite for dialogue.

This week, Alan talks to William Davison, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Ethiopia, to make sense of where the current political and military dynamics now stand, following the dizzying twists and turns in the war. They take stock of the current balance of military power between the different sides, discuss the counteroffensive’s success, the impact of government drone strikes and Abiy’s relationship with foreign actors ranging from the Gulf states to China and the U.S. They also talk about the prospects for an elusive resolution to the conflict and what could prevent the civil war from grinding on for many more months and possibly years.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Ethiopia page. Make sure to take a look at Crisis Group’s recent statement ‘Time to End Ethiopia’s Unwinnable War’.

Episode 4: The Search for an African Union Exit Strategy from Somalia

The African Union’s mission (AMISOM) has operated in Somalia for close to fifteen years. Initial military successes have led to a stalemate on the battlefield, as the military coalition of regional African troops has struggled to permanently degrade jihadist insurgent group Al-Shabaab. Frustration is mounting, both in Somalia and abroad. The Somali government, led by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo”, has consistently called for an accelerated transition. International actors, saddled with the bulk of costs, are growing ever more wary of funding the mission without a clearer exit plan. Still, there are no easy options. Immediate withdrawal would almost certainly see Al-Shabaab make significant gains.

This week, Alan is joined by Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Somalia Omar Mahmood to discuss the beleaguered mission and the pressing need for reform. They talk through AMISOM’s mixed record, the possible consequences of a sudden withdrawal, the central and complicated roles played by Ethiopia and Kenya, Somali attitudes toward the mission and the bitter international disputes surrounding AMISOM’S funding. They also talk about the wider challenges facing Somalia and the missing political pieces preventing a smoother pullout by the African Union troops.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Somalia page. Make sure to check out Crisis Group’s recent briefing ‘Reforming the AU Mission in Somalia’.

Episode 3: Ethiopia’s Historic Turning Point

Even the most seasoned observers have been stunned by Ethiopia’s recent twists and turns. The first shock came in 2018, when the country saw a peaceful transfer of power to a coalition led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. For some, this promised a turning point for a country that had long struggled to open its political space and find a workable political model that balanced its strong state with regional demands for ethnic autonomy. This optimism did not last. Ethiopia has since been plunged into a deadly civil war that threatens the very integrity of the state. Only weeks ago, Tigray forces captured towns in the direction of Addis Ababa, leading some foreigners to evacuate the capital.

This week, Alan is joined by Ethiopia expert Christopher Clapham, an author on the Horn of Africa and retired professor at the University of Cambridge, to take a deep dive into the country’s complex history. They discuss the legacy of Ethiopia’s imperial past, Ethiopia’s exceptional resistance to European colonial rule, the lingering effects of the Derg’s violent revolution, and the contradictions inside former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s vision for ethnic federalism. They also talk about the breakdown of the Ethiopian regime after Meles’s death, the “miracle” of Abiy’s ascent, the slide into civil war and the possible scenarios for Ethiopia’s political future as the military tide turns against the government.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

You can find more of Crisis Group’s work on our Ethiopia page. Make sure to check out Professor Clapham’s latest book The Horn of Africa: State Formation and State Decay for more fascinating insights.

Episode 2: Sudan After the Coup

Sudan’s political order is crumbling. On 25 October, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and other senior officers ousted the country’s civilian government. A week on, it is unclear whether Sudan’s fragile transition can be salvaged. While vast demonstrations condemning the power grab pose a serious challenge to the generals, a coalition of military leaders and armed groups have closed ranks in support of the coup. Meanwhile, few Sudanese desire a return to a troubled status quo that struggled to deliver promised reforms. 

This week Alan is joined by Magdi el-Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, to make sense of the labyrinthine world of Sudanese politics and ask what happens next. They talk about the resistance facing the military and other armed factions, the defiant new form of popular politics emerging on the streets, the rural-urban divide threatening the country’s political stability and the deep economic interests obstructing reform. They ask what a possible deal to end the political impasse could look like, question whether such a deal would be accepted on Khartoum’s streets and discuss the major risks facing the country if attempts at resolution fail. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on the Sudan page and read our statement ‘Reversing Sudan’s Dangerous Coup’. Make sure to take a look at for more of Magdi’s writing. 

Episode 1: The Battered State of Activism in Africa

Civil activists in Africa face increasingly strong headwinds. States continue to use tried-and-tested repression alongside increasingly sophisticated forms of legal and financial pressure to limit the influence of the continent’s activists. Despite these obstacles, Africa is brimming with energy, as showcased during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet this political activism does not always follow the path of the formal civil society organisations that Western support has flowed to since the 1990s. 

This week, Alan is joined by L. Muthoni Wanyeki, the Open Society Foundation’s Africa Director, to talk about this mixed picture. They discuss the successes of popular movements in Sudan, the tragic fate of South Sudan, the conspicuous lack of an anti-war movement in Ethiopia and the challenges posed by mounting authoritarianism in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Alan asks whether the model for civil society organising needs to change and Muthoni argues that we can empower activists by reforming African philanthropy and building a better framework for dialoguing with state actors.  

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Eastern Africa's Jihadis

Episode 5 | Eastern Africa’s Jihadis: The “War on Terror”

As the twenty-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, this last instalment of The Horn’s mini-series about jihadism along the Swahili coast explores two decades of the “war on terror” and how they affected the Horn of Africa. Alan Boswell welcomes a panel including Crisis Group’s Murithi Mutiga, project director for the Horn of Africa, the BBC’s Mary Harper and Boston University Professor Michael Woldemariam to discuss how East Africa’s politics changed as Western policy toward the region shifted to its overriding focus on security concerns and counter-terrorism above all else.

They discuss the U.S. efforts to counter jihadism in East Africa prior to 9/11, and how the subsequent “war on terror” shifted politics across the region, from the pressure put on the regime in Khartoum, to regime change in Somalia, to America’s securitised partnerships with Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Kampala, and the isolation of Eritrea. They also discuss Somalia’s fate, shifting U.S. priorities, and how the events in Ethiopia may affect regional counter-terrorism efforts moving forward. They also look at the recent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and how this chain of events has emboldened jihadist groups in East Africa, particularly Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The Eastern Africa’s Jihadis series of The Horn is produced in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This episode also features as part of our series The Legacy of 9/11 and the "War on Terror”.

Episode 4 | Eastern Africa’s Jihadis: The Big Picture

As jihadist ideologies have spread across Eastern Africa, governments are struggling to counter their growth, while the militant movements themselves are divided between the competing franchises of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Meanwhile, the dominant jihadist group in the region, Al-Shabaab, is emboldened by the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan. What does the future hold? 

In this episode of The Horn’s mini-series, Alan Boswell and Rashid Abdi, former project director for the Horn of Africa at Crisis Group, connect the dots between the jihadist groups that have sprung up across the region. They discuss what the implications for other armed rebellions might be in the wake of the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and what the endgame is for groups like Al-Shabaab seeking similar power. They also discuss whether al-Qaeda or the Islamic State have regional momentum in their competition against each other, and the challenges governments face in finding the right time to dialogue with the groups. Finally, Rashid argues why regional cooperation can only go so far in countering the jihadist threat.

The Eastern Africa’s Jihadis series of The Horn is produced in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Episode 3 | Eastern Africa’s Jihadis: Mozambique

The roots of militancy in northern Mozambique go back years, but the insurgency’s true extent didn’t catch the world’s attention until the Cabo Delgado attacks earlier this year. Meanwhile, a humanitarian crisis worsens and neighbouring countries are deploying troops to help reverse the threat. As yet, however, there is little progress toward resolving the conflict.

In a new episode of The Horn’s mini-series, Alan Boswell and Dr. Adriano Nuvunga, a political science professor and executive director of the Center for Democracy and Development in Maputo, unpack how socio-economic marginalisation in resource-rich Cabo Delgado bred grievances that drove recruitment into a new militant group. They discuss what the Mozambican government should prioritise in its response, including tackling the humanitarian fallout, improving governance in the area and overseeing regional military assistance. Most critically, Dr. Nuvunga stresses that Mozambique and its partners should consider political dialogue over a purely military strategy in order to avoid another “forever war” on the continent. 

The Eastern Africa’s Jihadis series of The Horn is produced in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, read Crisis Group’s report: Stemming the Insurrection in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado.

Episode 2 | Eastern Africa's Jihadis: Somalia

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab insurgency was born of a strong nationalistic reaction to the Ethiopian invasion in 2006. Over the years since, the group has treaded a thin line between galvanising local support and tapping into the rhetoric of global jihadism, including through allegiance to al-Qaeda – a strategy that has seen it grow in prominence amid a governance vacuum.

In this second instalment of a mini-series on jihadism across Eastern Africa, Alan Boswell is joined by regional expert and former government adviser Samira Gaid for an in-depth look at Al-Shabaab’s origins and rise. Samira describes how the militants have embedded themselves in the dynamics of Somali politics – particularly through the clan system – to extend their reach across the country. She also explains why military efforts by Somalia and its international partners have failed to stem the insurgency, discusses whether political elites – embroiled in an electoral crisis – have the will to open a dialogue, and assesses how waning external support for stabilising Somalia could affect progress toward an eventual settlement to the conflict.

The Eastern Africa’s Jihadis series of The Horn is produced in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Episode 1 | Eastern Africa's Jihadis: The Roots

In this first episode of The Horn’s special mini-series about jihadism along the Eastern African seaboard, Alan Boswell talks with historian and analyst Ngala Chome about how new ideologies East Africans brought back from the Middle East sowed the seeds of militant doctrines that took root within some communities amid a climate of political marginalisation.  

They unpack the role of colonialism in the region and how Saudi Arabian scholarship funding gave youth an opportunity to establish themselves within social and political hierarchies. They also explore the kinship networks, established during East Africa’s days as a trading hub, that link the Swahili coast from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique. They discuss the domestic and transnational interplay of these militant ideologies with national and local politics, and the heavy-handed response from regional states since the start of the so-called Global War on Terror. 

The Eastern Africa’s Jihadis series of The Horn is produced in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

The Horn podcast series is produced by Maeve Frances.

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