There have been increasing reports by locals in the Horn of Africa, from various countries such as Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda, that Al-Shabab (“The Youth”) is being suspected of or claiming responsibility of acts of violence, that range from kidnapping local non-combatants, such as tourists and aid workers, to bombings in the host countries that have troops in Somalia. Al-Shabab, being a terrorist-militia group based in Somalia, claims that attacks in neighboring countries were in response to their military interventions in Somalia. Other allegations that have been reported on from locals include local propaganda campaigns which aim at converting people to Islam, and to recruit militia membership. Eritrea is supplying arms to Al-Shabab, in its fight against Kenya and Ethiopia. Kenya itself is currently conducting cross border raids and airstrikes into Somalia, trying to eradicate Al-Shabab bases near the border, that allow them to penetrate into Kenya and kidnap civilians. There are currently Kenyan and Somali Federal troops fighting together against Al-Shabab, since October of this year starting with Operation Linda Nchi (“Protect the country”)
Some background: Somalia has been off-again and on-again in civil wars since before and after the failed US humanitarian aid mission, that culminated in the infamous “Blackhawk Down” incident. Warlord infighting eventually brought about Islamic law. In response to an Islamist government, Christian Ethiopia invaded the country with US backing, leading the more youthful, militant, and terrorist, Al Shabab, to respond. Ethiopia had since retreated in 2009, limiting their involvement.
Al Shabab popped on the American public’s radar when they recruited their current poster boy, Omar Shafiq Hammami, known as Shayk Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki (“The American”), originally an Alabama American; currently, it is claimed by various African Horn countries that Hammami is dead, though there is no conclusive evidence to prove this. Al-Shabab is known to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and is known to have recruited foreign nationals of Somali descent, such as Canadian and American youth. Al-Shabab is known for its terrorist attacks, paramilitary operations, and is designated a terrorist organization by the US government.