Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama'a (Somalia)

Country: Somalia
Details of Formation: Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama’a was created in 1991 to protect Sufi Muslims from religious extremists. In 2008, it became an armed group to defend itself against Al-Shabab attacks. In 2010, the militia signed a power-sharing agreement with the transitional federal government and promised to support the regular forces in anti-Al-Shabab attacks.
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The militia was created in 1991 to protect Sufi Muslims in Somalia, but became an armed group in 2008 when it began to target Al-Shabab militants after their attack on Sufi shrines. When the Federal Government of Somalia took power, the government used the militia to attack Al-Shabab militants.
Organisation: Until his death, Yusuf Heefow was the head of the militia. The militia has an executive committee. The PGM carried out joint operations with the regular armed forces and Kenyan troops. In December 2012, the interior ministry officially took control of the militia. In 2012 and 2013, the government tried to integrate the militia into the regular army, but did not succeed.
Weapons and Training: The Somalian government provided the militia with weapons, while Ethiopian forces provided training for the group.
Size: For the year 2011, 4,500 militia members were reported.
Reason for Membership: The militiamen are Sufi Muslims who joined the group to fight Sufi Al-Shabab and Al-Ittihad-Al-Islamiya militants. In contrast to the regular armed forces, militiamen received no benefits from the government.
Treatment of Civilians: There are reports that indiscriminate attacks targeted at civilians by militia members led to an escalation of violence. This behavior was supported by the regular armed forces and the government. (Amnesty 2015)
Other Information: The name means "the people of the tradition of Prophet Muhammad".
References: Amnesty International. 2015. “Somalia National Human Rights Day an opportunity to enhance accountability“.

Wikipedia. “Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a”.