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 Islamic State Somalia

Also known as: Abnaa ul-Calipha; Mahad Moalim; Wilayat al Somal; Wilayat Sumaal; ISIS in East Africa; ISIL Somalia.

This statement is based on publicly available information about Islamic State Somalia. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate, reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Basis for listing a terrorist organisation

Division 102 of the Criminal Code 1995 provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Minister for Home Affairs must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:

  • is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act; or
  • advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

For the purposes of listing a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code, the doing of a terrorist act includes the doing of a specific terrorist act, the doing of more than one terrorist act and the doing of a terrorist act, even if a terrorist act does not occur.

Background to this listing

The Australian Government has not previously proscribed Islamic State Somalia (IS‑Somalia) as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code.

Terrorist activity of the organisation


IS‑Somalia’s primary objective is to establish an Islamic Caliphate in the Horn of Africa based on the application of Sharia law consistent with the global jihadist ideology of the proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State. On 25 December 2017, IS‑Somalia pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
IS‑Somalia has undertaken the following to advance its ideology and achieve its objectives:

Directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

IS‑Somalia conducts attacks in the northern Somali Puntland region and southern Somalia. It primarily targets Western, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and Somali Government interests using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and firearms.
Examples of attacks for which IS‑Somalia can be reliably attributed:

  • Between January to October 2018, IS‑Somalia claimed responsibility for multiple assassinations of officials in Mogadishu and its suburbs.
  • 3 October 2018, IS‑Somalia claimed responsibility for killing three Ethiopian‑Christians in the north-eastern port city of Bosaso.
  • 24 September 2018, IS‑Somalia killed a member of the Puntland presidential guard unit and wounded one other person in an attack at a shopping mall near Bosaso.
  • 24 May 2017, an IS‑Somalia suicide bomber attacked a police checkpoint in Puntland killing five people and injuring 12 others.
  • 8 February 2017, two IS‑Somalia members attacked the International Village Hotel in Bosaso, Puntland, killing four security guards before exchanging fire with security forces and themselves being killed.
  • 26 April 2016 IS‑Somalia detonated an IED against an AMISOM vehicle in Mogadishu.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

IS‑Somalia advocates the doing of terrorist attacks, including:

  • 25 December 2017, IS‑Somalia promoted attacks against Western states and called for Muslims, especially in East Africa, to join them. During the video, an IS‑Somalia fighter speaking in English told would-be supporters that killing an infidel is their ‘ticket out of hell’.

Details of the organisation

In 2014, a group of disenfranchised al-Shabaab members formed an IS-aligned group in northern Somalia, adopting the tenets of Islamic State. In ensuing years, this group made repeated attempts to reach-out to Islamic State in Syria, including making pledges of allegiance in 2015 and 2016, which were not recognised by Islamic State. Following a further video pledge in December 2017, Islamic State publicly recognised IS‑Somalia and its attacks in its official weekly publication al-Naba.


IS‑Somalia has a centralised command structure and is currently led by Abdul Qadir Mumin.


IS‑Somalia is estimated to have up to 200 fighters, with an unknown number of supporters. Many IS‑Somali fighters are ethnic Somalis, although Ethiopians are also believed to be among the ranks.

Recruitment and funding

IS‑Somalia is directly supported by Islamic State in Yemen, which provides experts, trainers, money, weapons, and other materials. IS‑Somalia also taxes the local community, threatening harm if they don’t pay. Recruiting is undertaken from within local Puntland communities, although the group raids those communities that do not support it and steals food and other necessities. IS‑Somalia also works with Somali pirates, namely the Mohamed Garfanje’s Hobyo-Haradhere Piracy Network.

Links to other terrorist organisations

IS‑Somalia is officially recognised as an affiliate of, and ideologically aligned with, proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State. In October 2015, several al-Shabaab members who later joined IS-Somalia pledged allegiance to Islamic State and on 25 April 2016, Abdul Qadir Mumin also pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, strengthening the connection between the two groups. Relations between IS‑Somalia and al-Shabaab are hostile.

Links to Australia

There are no known direct links between IS‑Somalia and Australia.

Threats to Australian interests

IS‑Somalia has not made statements specifically threatening Australians or Australian interests. However, IS‑Somalia has issued statements threatening Westerners and Western interests in general, and is known to operate in Mogadishu and northern Somalia, where Westerners frequent. Furthermore, small numbers of Australians are occasionally known to be present in regions where IS-Somalia operates.  

Listed by the United Nations or like-minded countries

The Government of the United States proscribed IS‑Somalia as a terrorist organisation in February 2018.

Engagement in peace or mediation processes

IS‑Somalia is not known to have participated in any peace or mediation processes since its inception.


On the basis of the above information, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation assesses that IS‑Somalia is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts or advocates the doing of terrorist acts.
In the course of pursuing its objectives, IS‑Somalia is known to have committed or threatened actions that:

  • cause, or could cause, death, serious harm to persons, serious damage to property, endangered life (other than the life of the person taking the action), or create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public;
  • are intended to have those effects;
  • are done with the intention of advancing political, religious or ideological causes;
  • are done with the intention of intimidating the government of one or more foreign countries; and
  • are done with the intention of intimidating the public or sections of the public.