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Kenyan government drops Al Shabaab term for Ugus

In the latest communication by the government about security forces thwarting an attack at Yumbis village in Garissa the militant group Al-Shabaab is all through referred to as Ugus.

The Interior Ministry stated that villagers alerted security forces that they had spotted armed militants in the area at around 6pm.

With the first paragraph of the official communication, the ministry said the militants were suspected to be Al Shabaab and inserted this statement in brackets, “or Ugus as the group is referred to by Somali Government, which translates to: the group that massacres Somali people.”

The term Ugus was then subsequently used throughout the official statement by Interior Ministry spokesperson Mr Mwenda Njoka.

He said that security forces moved in after the militants were spotted and engaged in gun battle where no casualties were reported.


“The Government commends members of the public for taking pro-active action to report the sighting of these Ugus and urges Kenyans to continue collaborating with security agents to ensure that members of this group who might have taken refuge among innocent locals are flushed out,” Mr Njoka said.

Early this month, BBC reported that the Somali government had told media houses to stop referring to militant group Al-Shabab by their name but instead adopt Ugus, an acronym for “the Group that Massacres the Somali People”.

It was further reported that Al-Shabab responded by saying the Somali government should be referred to by the same acronym, in their case referring to “the Group that Subjects the Somali People to Humiliation.”

The introduction of the new term has caught the attention of online users with some commending the move while others critic.

‏One of those in support @DonPablo254 tweeted, “GOK adopting that ‘Ugus’ name is good. It challenges AS propaganda of pretending to fight for Muslims in KE while it kills them in Somalia.”

Others like @smoking_ninja felt it was sugarcoating, “calling al-shabaab ‘ugus’ is like calling voldemort ‘he who shall not be named’. There’s no tracer spell so grow a pair.”