The Terrorism Monitor published on 7 April 2017 a report titled "Al-Shabaab Plays on Aid Distribution Role to Win Over Desperate Somalis" by Sunguta West.
The report comments that al-Shabaab has released photos of food distribution in rural areas of drought-stricken Somalia. It is unclear where al-Shabaab would obtain significant amounts of food aid. Some observers view the distribution of food aid as propaganda while others believe the tactic is critical to gain support as al-Shabaab has been forced to retreat into rural areas. Al-Shabaab is also better known for conducting suicide attacks in Mogadishu.