Two days after a group of Somali islamist militants vowed to execute Kenyan hostages, and tweeted a video of a captive pleading for the Kenyan government to help free them, the Al-Shabaab Twitter account @HSMPress was suspended. A Google cache is visible here. Warning: includes gruesome photos. The group took a French intelligence officer hostage, then apparently murdered him after an unsuccessful attempted raid by the French military which the US assisted). An @HSMPress press release about that killing is available on Twitlonger.
The Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Twitter account has been around since 2011, promoting the group's vision of strict sharia law in Somalia, 140 characters at a time. The US State Department was reportedly looking in to shutting it down ages ago. Wonder what took them so long?
For its part, Al Shabaab blames its "Christian enemies" for suspending its Twitter account. And they do sound rather miffed about being blocked on the popular social networking platform.
"The enemies have shut down our Twitter account," al Shabaab's most senior media officer, who refused to be named, told Reuters. "They shut it down because our account overpowered all the Christians' mass media and they could not tolerate the grief and the failure of the Christians we always displayed (online)."
You know what's most surreal about their (now-suspended) account? Not the Christian infidel media stuff, or the terror-threat-y stuff, or the images of bloated corpses and prancing soldiers with Kalashnikovs. One expects all of that from an al Qaeda-linked Somalian terror organization.
No, what's weirdest are the tweets that sound like they were lifted from a j-school ethics debate.
How much of the gruesome details of war should be published without detracting from the accurancy and credibility of the event?
Why is it that questions and ethical concerns are usually raised only when the Mujahideen publish images of their enemy combatants?.
A photojournalist wins the Pulitzer Prize for a blood-spattered shot of an Afghan girl, but the fairly clean shot of the French is "graphic"