The Increased Activity of Al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa: Implications and Limits

Ahmad Askar | 18 Feb 2020

Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, more commonly known as Al-Shabaab, remains the main security challenge in Somalia and one of the most significant threats to regional stability and security in the Horn of Africa given the recent uptick in the group's activity in Somalia and its growing expansion in the region. The terrorist attacks launched by the group are now claiming the lives of more civilians, military and government officials. This is in addition to targeting government interests and institutions inside and outside Somalia, which places a significant burden on the countries of the Horn of Africa and regional forces due to the risks and threats posed by the group. Despite regional and international efforts to counter Al-Shabaab in recent years, there are some challenges that prevent the elimination of the group or curtailing its activity and strike power. This leaves the door open for several future scenarios in the region. 

Operational Map of Al-Shabaab

  • The group controls a fifth of Somali territory, especially rural areas and small towns in the southern and central parts of the country[1]. It has boosted its presence in the north, particularly in the Puntland region, where it is engaged in fighting ISIS militants in Jaljala highlands. Al-Shabaab also takes from the city of "Jilib" in southern Somalia as a de facto capital. The number of the group's militants ranges between 3,000 and 9,000 fighters according to U.S. Department of Defense estimates. However, there are reports of increasing defections among the group[2].
  • At the same time, it can be said that Al-Shabaab's control of some areas of Somalia is fluid. Usually, the militants of the group would leave an area they have attacked before the African Union Mission in Somalia forces mount a counter-attack, but the latter fails to takes control of that area, and once again, it falls under Al-Shabaab's control[3]. It is worth noting that the group does not have control over any coastal areas in Somalia.
  • Since January 2020, Al-Shabaab has carried out 106 terrorist operations, 99 of which inside Somalia, and 7 in Kenya. The group's operations inside Somali included 34 attacks on military bases used by Somali government forces and African forces in Somalia (AMISOM), 38 car bombs and landmine explosions against civilians and some institutions and government officials. The attacks also included 10 assassinations targeting Somali officials and military and police officers, and 12 attacks against some government sites. The group also carried out three executions and enforced the death penalty for apostasy against persons accused by the group of spying for the government forces and some neighboring countries. This is in addition to the downing of a U.S. drone and the kidnapping of a local Somali official[4]. In January 2020, the group has announced that it has taken control of 4 regions in Somalia, including two strategic regions, one of which is located on the border with Ethiopia. In addition, the group controlled "Ayl Adi" area in Hiran region in the Middle Shabelle state in central Somalia. It also seized the "Farbalah" area, 45 km from Hiran province, after the Somali forces withdrew from it[5]. These developments reflect the Al-Shabaab's continued expansion of its geographical sphere and control in the country.
  • A report released by the U.S. Department of Defense (the Pentagon) on February 11, 2020 said the Somali federal government is not yet ready to stand on their own against Al-Shabaab militants and that the group still maintains command and control as manifest by its increased  activities during the past period [6].
  • The group's recent operations highlight some important indications, including its guerrilla warfare tactic inside and outside Somalia, which gives it a significant level of maneuverability in the various Somali regions, especially in light of the recent security measures taken by the Somali government. The group also maintains a clear imprint in the areas it does not control by being involved in carrying out terrorist attacks regularly, especially against government interests and institutions.
  • The group was able to shoot down a U.S. drone in the "Toratorow" area of the Lower Shabelle region[7]. This incident reflects the qualitative development in the group's tactics and armament, and the growing sophistication of its military capabilities in the face of this type of U.S. military aircraft that target its elements. This has also been indicated by U.S. investigations that confirmed that the group has been manufacturing homemade explosives since July 2017, which strengthens its capabilities in the region[8].
  • The group has the capabilities that enable it to penetrate the Somali state’s institutions by recruiting pro-government elements to collect and pass strategic information to the group. It has also succeeded in penetrating some security meetings attended by military leaders, which makes the targeting of some of them easier, in addition to providing it with security-related information and decisions[9].
  • Al-Shabaab has the flexibility to adapt to the conditions and challenges it faces in the country, in addition to its ability to recruit more elements, especially in the south of the country and the border areas with Kenya. It also utilizes the grievances of local communities in the country[10], which encourages it to continue its operations against the Somali government and African forces and some foreign forces supporting the federal government, such as the Turkish and U.S. forces.
  • On the other hand, the political opposition accuses the federal government of failing to confront Al-Shabaab and the continuing security crises in the country. Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the former president and leader of the opposition National Parties Forum, claimed that Al-Shabaab controls Mogadishu and has a noticeable role in the administration of the capital, as it collects taxes from merchants and some government institutions[11]. Hence, the political opposition's endeavors to embarrass and implicate the federal government in a number of crises are aimed at stirring the public opinion against the ruling regime as elections approach.
  • Regionally, Kenya has become a direct target of Al-Shabaab[12]. The east African nation has suffered a series of attacks during the past months in the North Eastern Province and the regions on the borders with Somalia, particularly the coastal provinces of Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and Lamu. The group is escalating its attacks on military and civilian targets, government headquarters and educational institutions in those areas, and is also laying landmines there to target security and military patrols[13].
  • Through its attacks inside Kenya, the group seeks to invite broader media coverage given the fact that Kenya is a major hub for diplomacy, tourism and business in Africa. In addition, Kenya hosts a number of international organizations, and is therefore a major target for the group to hit interests linked to Western countries in the region.
  • In another remarkable development, the group has started to target Turkish interests in Somalia, as it considers the Turkish presence in the country driven by the ambitions of plundering the country's wealth and resources with the help of the Somali federal government. The group also considers the Turkish government an enemy because of Turkey's membership in the NATO, and the fact that its president is pursuing personal interests. The group also considers Turkey a secular country unrelated to Islam, which funds the federal government[14]. All of these things explain the recent series of attacks against some Turks in Somalia.
  • The same is true for the U.S. The group has threatened to target U.S. bases in the region, saying it will target more American soldiers after its recent attack on the "Manda Bay" base in Kenya's Lamu province[15]. This reveals the group's intention to widen the circle of engagement with U.S. interests in the region and beyond, in order to enhance its rise on the international scene in the foreseeable future.
  • The group's operations are supported and assisted by some other terrorist organizations in the African continent, which is tantamount to encouraging and pushing for more terrorist attacks by the group. This reveals the nature of the relationship between these organizations despite the relative geographical distance between them. Al-Qaeda praised the attack against the Camp Simba base in Manda Bay, in the Kenyan province of Lamu, as part of the "Jerusalem will never be Judaized" operations. In turn, the group provides support to other terrorist organizations, as highlighted in its statement addressed to the Al-Qaeda affiliate, "Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin", which is based in the Sahel and Sahara region (Mali). In the statement, Al-Shabaab voiced support for the Al-Qaeda's affiliate and urged it to continue its military operations against the French[16].
  • Al-Shabaab remains the primary direct threat to peace and security in Somalia in particular and the Horn of Africa region in general. The uptick in the group's activity reveals that the region has become a soft flank for terrorist activity in Africa, as it is home to one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the continent and the world. Hence, the group's continuing terrorist activity makes it the most prominent and strongest among terrorist organizations in East Africa, especially with the rise of "ISIS" in Somalia at the Jaljala Heights in Puntland.

Implications of Al-Shabaab’s Expansion in Somalia and the Region

  1. At the Somalia Level:
  • The continuing chaos in Somalia and the growing security vacuum will undermine attempts to rebuild the Somali state, especially as the group seeks to weaken the federal government in the Somali public opinion as elections approach.
  • The group will continue to strengthen its local popular base by attracting more sympathizers in a manner that translates into increased activity at the local and regional levels, and ultimately boosts its presence and influence. In addition, the group has further penetrated government institutions, recruited many government officials and targeted others. The group may be able to deeply penetrate the fortified areas for terrorist operations, based on the leaked information it obtains.
  • The group might control the roads linking the capital with other Somali regions, and thus isolate the federal government from the rest of the country’s territories.
  • There are fears that Al-Shabaab might take control of one Somalia's seaports (Merca), which would give it a sea outlet that would allow it to trade and secure a passage for arms imports from abroad.
  • Members of the Somali army might rebel against the federal government due to the weak military capabilities of the national army, the weak financial resources, and the preoccupation of the ruling elite with the upcoming elections at the expense of fighting Al-Shabaab.
  • There is a possibility that Al-Shabaab could expand its attacks and terrorist operations in Somalia[17], and escalate terrorist attacks against African forces with the aim of accelerating their withdrawal from Somalia and filling the void this will increase its area of control. The group might also continue to work to attract more soldiers and military leaders and push them towards defection from the ranks of the Somali national army.
  • It remains possible that local armed formations would be formed in different regions to confront Al-Shabaab (such as As-Hab al-Ezarat), which would further aggravates the security situation, especially in light of the possibility of the outbreak of confrontations between these factions and the government at a later stage.
  • The humanitarian situation in Somalia is likely to be exacerbated by the conflict in the country. In this regard, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced that millions of Somalis need urgent assistance. About 5.3 million people are at risk of starvation, and 1.7 million people have been displaced by conflict, drought and floods. This comes in conjunction with new desert locust swarms of agricultural lands and crops, which affected nearly 70,000 hectares in 2019[18]. This prompted the Somali government to call for providing about $1 billion from United Nations agencies to save the lives of more than 3 million people[19].
  • The conflict will affect foreign investment in Somalia. A Turkish company building a road linking the capital, Mogadishu, and the Afgooye region, announced that it had suspended its work after Al-Shabaab attacked Turkish nationals[20].
  1. At the Regional and International Levels:
  • The group might resort to targeting British interests, including the British military base in Somalia, as well as in the "Nanyuki" region in central Kenya, as part of the attacks the group continues to launch on Kenyan territory.
  • The possibility of opening a new front in Ethiopia in light of the group's attempts to recruit new militants inside Ethiopia.
  • Some projects in the region might be suspended because of Al-Shabaab threat. Chinese companies responsible for Kenya's mega Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) have suspended their activities due to the deteriorating security situation in the country[21].
  • The group might control some of newly-discovered oil fields, or disrupt oil production in some countries of the region, such as Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya, in addition to Somalia.
  • The group's activity might adversely affect the Kenyan tourism sector, which is one of the most important sectors in Kenya's Vision 2030, especially as it provides more job opportunities and huge foreign revenues. Some reports indicated that Kenya loses $1.5 million annually due to terrorist operations[22].
  • The group might undermine international and regional powers' presence in the region by targeting their vital interests in Somalia and neighboring countries, as Al-Shabaab views international presence on Somali territory as an occupation and invasion of the country.
  • Al-Shabaab may recruit new members of the Somali diaspora and get involved in special suicide operations. This is particularly relevant given the group's ability to attract dozens of U.S. volunteers to fight in Somalia, especially from Minneapolis and Minnesota[23].

Local, Regional and International Reactions to Al-Shabaab's Increased Activity

  1. Domestic Efforts:
  • During the African Summit in Addis Ababa in February 2020, the Somali government renewed its call on the United Nations to lift the arms embargo imposed on Somalia nearly thirty years ago, with the aim of strengthening the national military capabilities to counter the threat of Al-Shabaab[24].
  • Local militias called "As-Hab al-Ezarat" have launched separate attacks on Al-Shabaab locations in the Lower Shabelle and Hiran provinces. Further, there are indications that some neighboring countries (such as Kenya) seek to employ Muslim communities to counter the group's terrorism[25].
  1. Regional Efforts:
  • A conference was held in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, for the leaders of the countries contributing to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), to discuss the withdrawal of African forces from Somalia. It was agreed to withdraw 1,000 soldiers in February 2020 and start military operations against Al-Shabaab. It was also agreed to provide support to the Somali forces in order to assume their security responsibility after the completion of the withdrawal of the African forces in 2021[26].
  • A security alert was declared in Kenya in anticipation of any terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab. Kenya decided to send security and military reinforcements from the police and the army to the North Eastern Province, following warnings of possible attacks in the coastal city of Mombasa[27]. Also, there have been domestic calls on the Kenyan government to withdraw Kenyan forces from Somalia in order to avoid Al-Shabaab attacks, but the Kenyan government has vowed to stay in Somalia.
  • In 2019, Kenya submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding that Al-Shabaab be included in the list of terrorist organizations. However, Somalia rejected this bill because it was concerned that Kenya might be seeking a regional and international coalition that would enable it to freely take over disputed areas under the pretext of fighting terrorism, in addition to humanitarian implications that such a decision would leave[28].
  • Ethiopia and Kenya are likely to remain in Somalia unilaterally after 2021, when AMISOM forces are due to withdraw, especially since the two countries have not indicated any plans to withdraw under the pretext of countering al-Shabaab threats.
  • Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has presented his Somali counterpart with a counter-terror proposal based on the creation of local combat militias (similar to the Awakening groups in Iraq) to fight alongside the Somali government forces and join the regular army two years later, with the aim of facilitating the national army's control over all regions. However, that vision was rejected because it was seen as a reproduction of regional experiences of doubtful success, and the fear that the militias might turn against the country's authorities at a later stage[29].
  1. U.S. and International Efforts:
  • There is U.S.-Somali coordination in conducting several air strikes against the strongholds of Al-Shabaab in the center and south of the country. The Somali army commander has met with U.S. military officials at the "Baledogle" air base from which U.S. drone strikes are launched against Al-Shabaab in the Lower Shabelle region, in the South West State of Somalia, with the aim of intensifying military operations against the group[30]. Additionally, there are joint military operations between the Somali and American forces in some regions where Al-Shabaab is active, such as the Lower Juba and Central Juba provinces in the state of Jubaland in the southernmost of the country. Some statistics indicate that since January 2020, the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) carried out 3 air strikes against the strongholds of group[31], compared with 55 and 47 air strikes in 2019 and 2018 respectively. Eight sorties targeted ISIS fighters in Somalia[32]. However, the U.S. air strikes did not undermine the group's combat capabilities and activity in the country, nor did they prevent it from launching more terrorist attacks inside and outside Somalia.
  • The U.S. and Kenya have launched the first joint anti-terrorist task force, following the attack carried out by Al-Shabab against the Kenyan-U.S military base in Kenya's Lamu province[33]. Washington also supplied the Kenyan Ministry of Defense with 6 attack helicopters as part of efforts to enhance the combat capabilities of the Kenyan forces in fighting Al-Shabaab[34].
  • The commander of AFRICOM has also visited Somalia and Kenya, with the aim of assessing the security situation after the Simba base attack, and emphasizing the need to strengthen military relations and partnership between the US military and its partners in East Africa to counter terrorism. He has also met the heads of some Somali provinces - Puntland and Jubaland states - to discuss efforts to weaken Al-Shabaab[35].
  • Meanwhile, Britain has warned its citizens not to travel to certain regions in Kenya due to security threats, including Garissa, Lamu, and Tana River provinces, as well as the border area with Somalia, hotels, malls, stadiums and nightclubs[36].

Despite these efforts, it remains difficult to defeat Al-Shabaab militarily[37], in light of the developments on the ground and the challenges facing the federal government, which weaken its capability to eliminate the group. 

Challenges to Anti-Al-Shabab Efforts

  1. The failure to prioritize the building of a strong Somali national army on the agenda of talks between the federal government and the Somali regions but instead prioritizing other matters such as the upcoming presidential election. This is in addition to the absence of a security strategy with the Somali federal government to combat the group.
  2. The weak military and training capabilities of the Somali military and security forces, which make them unable to eliminate Al-Shabaab.
  3. The ongoing fighting between local militias in some regions, which gives Al-Shabaab the maneuverability and space they need across Somalia[38].
  4. The failure to dry up the group's sources of funding in order to limit its capabilities and activities in Somalia and the wider region.
  5. The absence of political solutions to the Al-Shabaab threat, and overlooking the option of starting a political dialogue with the group to establish stability in the region. Hence, the continuation of the zero sum game will reduce the chances of making and maintaining peace in Somalia, especially with poor counter-terror efforts.
  6. The current policies and measures pursued by the Farmajo government at various levels risk increasing popular discontent and pushing the youths towards Al-Shabaab to undermine the current regime.
  7. The rampant corruption in the institutions of the Somali state, especially the military, which allows Al-Shabaab to penetrate those institutions and recruit officials. Moreover, corruption discourages world powers from providing financial and military assistance, as the United States did in late 2017 when it suspended aid to the Somali army[39].
  8. Somalia's disputes with some neighboring countries, especially Kenya, over maritime borders. Somalia accuses Kenya of interfering in Somali internal affairs and destabilizing the country through the Kenyan forces participating in the "AMISOM"[40].
  9. The fact that some regional states have an interest in perpetuating Al-Shabaab threat and providing it with financial support to achieve political and strategic interests in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. This was evident in Qatar's support for the group and its eagerness to continue its role in fueling tension inside and outside Somalia.
  10. The timing of the withdrawal of African forces from Somalia and its impact on the security and stability of Somalia and the region in the next stage. It paves the way for many disastrous scenarios about regional peace and security in light of the continued and escalating Al-Shabaab activity in the country.
  11. The unlikelihood of a U.S. land assault against Al-Shabaab while continuing the airstrikes against the group's strongholds, even though aerial bombardment did not deter the group from continuing its attacks inside Somalia and some neighboring countries.
  12. Poor coordination of regional and international counter-terror efforts in Somalia.
  13. The failure to pressure the United Nations to lift the arms embargo imposed on Somalia, and its impact on the Somali army's ability to confront Al-Shabaab.

The Future of Al-Shabaab: Possible Scenarios

First Scenario: Continued Expansion and Activity of Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Neighboring Countries. This scenario is the most likely scenario given the group's ability to survive, expand, and attract new recruits. This scenario is also based on the group's ability to exploit the weak military, training and financial capabilities of the Somali national army, and the poor regional and international efforts to confront the group. In addition, the withdrawal of African forces from Somalia in 2020, and the worsening differences in the Somali political scene between the federal government and the states give this scenario additional likelihood. This is in addition to the continued financial support the group receives from terror sponsors and financiers in the region.

This scenario is backed by the Somali federal government's failure to take swift action to fight the group, lack of concerted and unified regional and international anti-Al-Shabaab efforts, the continued flow of financial and military support in the coming period, and the failure to dry up the group's sources of financing.

This scenario is likely to prove untrue in the following cases:

  • If the training and military capabilities of the Somali national army are strengthened;
  • If all counter-Al-Shabaab efforts are concerted and unified;
  • If the group's sources of funding are dried up;   
  • If some of the group's leaders are encouraged to leave the group and reconcile with the government;
  • If the withdrawal of African forces in Somalia is deferred until the Somali army is ready to take over.

The cost of this scenario is high at the political, economic and security levels in light of the group's threat to Somalia’s national security and the security of the Horn of Africa region.

Second Scenario: The United States Intensifying its Military Operations against Al-Shabaab in Order to Eliminate it. This scenario is less likely, given Washington's continued dependence on drone strikes against Al-Shabaab without expanding the strategy to include ground operations against the group's strongholds and militants. Besides Al-Shabaab, the region's countries are threatened, at various degrees, by other terrorist organizations, including ISIS and the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army. In addition, the U.S. does not rely heavily on the Somali army at the present time. Moreover, there are indications that some of Somalia's neighboring countries are not ready to go to war against Al-Shabaab in light of the challenges facing the military capabilities of their armies. Reports released by AFRICOM indicate that it is difficult to eliminate Al-Shabaab in the foreseeable future at least.

This scenario can materialize in the following circumstances:

  • If the U.S. expands its combat strategy against Al-Shabaab to include ground offensives;
  • If the U.S. boosts the training and tactical capabilities of the Somali national army; 
  • If a U.S. led regional and international coalition is established with the aim of eliminating Al-Shabaab.

On the other hand, this scenario is open to failure if the United States backed down from fighting the group and limited its involvement to air strikes as a fixed strategy. Other hindrances to this scenario include the failure to expand the capabilities of the armies of the region's countries and the poor regional and international coordination.

The financial cost of this scenario is high due to the cost of air strikes and war against the group.

Third Scenario: A Concerted Regional and International Efforts to Assist and Train the Somali Army and Maintain the "AMISOM" in Somalia. This scenario is unlikely given the fact that some of the region's countries seek to keep Somalia a fragile and crisis-ridden state unable to recover and regain its regional role. This is coupled with the absence of an international will to pool efforts to eliminate Al-Shabaab. In fact, the existence of the group is being used a pretext for regional and international competition in the Horn of Africa, and a reason for the continued meetings of AMISOM force leaders to discuss the withdrawal plan from Somalia.

This scenario can turn into a reality in the following circumstances:

  • If there is a genuine international will to eradicate Al-Shabaab;
  • If the African forces in Somalia are provided with additional support;
  • If the Somali national army's combat capabilities are enhanced;
  • If the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) establishes a security mechanism in which member states participate to enhance regional security in the region;
  • If the African Peace and Security Council forms a regional alliance to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

However, this scenario may fail as a result of impeded regional coordination and the failure to prop up the Somali army. AMISOM's planned withdrawal from Somalia in early 2021 and the lack of an international will to fight Al-Shabaab would also undermine this scenario.

This scenario is financially, politically and economically costly.

Fourth Scenario: The Formation of a Regional Alliance of Somalia's Neighbors to Fight Al-Shabaab. This scenario is the weakest and least likely. The reasons include the lack of regional will to take such a step, the weak funding required for this alliance, and the continued Somali concerns regarding the real intentions of some neighboring countries - especially Kenya - from this alliances and its implications for the sovereignty of the Somali state. Also, Al-Shabaab terrorism is not a priority on the agendas of some countries in the region. Furthermore, the group's presence in Somalia also contributes to the continued fragility of the Somali state, which is a strategic goal for some countries in the region.

What may help in turning this scenario into a reality is an African Union’s strong move towards forming and funding this alliance. This is in addition to sidelining some regional powers that seek to maintain the status quo in Somalia and the region, the need for U.S. and Western support for this alliance, and strengthening the Somali army's combat and training capabilities.

This scenario may fail if the coalition does not receive financial support and funding, and if regional powers refuse to join it. Among the other reasons that may lead to failure include the lack of U.S. and Western will and support, and the Somali state’s rejection of this alliance for fear of Kenyan and Ethiopian ambitions.

The cost of this scenario is exorbitant financially and economically, given the need for the funding necessary for the success of this alliance in achieving its goals.


The terrorist Al-Shabaab group will continue to pose a real threat to efforts to bring about security and stability to Somalia in particular, and the region in general. Addressing this threat requires redoubling regional and international endeavors to strengthen the institutions of the rule of law in Somalia, and intensifying regional and international cooperation to combat the group and its criminal and terrorist networks. It also is of paramount importance to end detrimental regional interference in this country's internal affairs. Some countries place their interests above of the Somali people's security and its right to a capable, prosperous and well-functioning state.


[1] MERESSA K DESSU AND DAWIT YOHANNES, is this the right time to downsize AMISOM? (Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 28 February 2019),  Available at:

[2]  Claire Felter, Jonathan Masters, and Mohammed Aly Sergie, Al-Shabab, Council on Foreign Relations, 10 January 2020, available at:

[3] Ibid.

[4] These statistics were compiled by the researcher by monitoring all terrorist operations in which Al-Shabaab was involved from January 2020 to February 16, 2020. He relied on some Somali sites: Mogadishu Center for Research and Studies (, New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development (, Shahada News Agency (site close to the AlShabab) (

[5] “Al-Shabab takes over of a second area in the central Somalia region of Hiran,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, January 26, 2020, available at:

[6] “Pentagon: Somali government forces not yet ready to stand on their own against Al-Shabaab,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, Mogadishu, February 12, 2020), available at:

[7] “Al-Shabaab displays images of drone wreckage downed in Lower Shabelle,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, January 20, 2020, available at:

[8] "UN: Al-Shabab Remains 'Potent Threat' in Somalia and Region," Voice of America news, 12 November 2019, available at:

[9] “Al-Shabaab present in all institutions of the Somali state,” Qiraat Somali, January 23, 2020, available at:

[10]. International Crisis Group, Somalia: Why is Al-Shabaab still A Potent Threat?, 11 February 2016, available at:

[11]“Leader of National Parties Forum: Al-Shabaab controls Mogadishu,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, February 2, 2020, available at:

[12] Martin Plaut, "Why Al-shabaab Targets Kenya?," Eritrea Focus, 5 February 2019, available at:

[13]“Al-Shabaab attacks affect education in north-eastern Kenya,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, February 1, 2020, available at:

[14] “Turkish President Erdogan reveals his ambitions for Somali oil,” Shahada News Agency, January 22, 2020, available at:

[15] “Al-Shabaab threatens to target U.S. bases in the world,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, January 12, 2020, available at:

[16]. “Al-Shabaab statement praises Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin in Mali,” Shahada News Agency, January 29, 2020, available at:

[17]. Counter Extremism Project, Somalia: Extremism & Counter-Extremism, 8 January 2020, available at:

[18]“UN says millions of Somalis need urgent aid”, New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, 15 January 2020, available at:

[19]“Famine threatens residents of the displaced camps in Mogadishu,” Mogadishu Center for Research and Studies, 25 January 2020, available at:

[20]. Abdi Sheikh, "Car bomb attack wounds Turkish contractors, police near Somali capital," Reuters, 18 January 2020, available at:

[21] “Lapsset project at Lamu Port suspended after attack on U.S. base,” Shahada News Agency, January 2020, available at:

[22]. "How Kenya’s tourism industry has felt the impact of terrorist attacks?," The Conversation, South Africa, 23 January 2019, available at:

[23]. Seth G. Jones, Andrew M. Liepman and Nathan Chandler, Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Somalia: Assessing the campaign against Al Shabaab (Washington: Rand Corporation, 2016) Pp. 21-32.

[24]. “President Farmajo calls for lifting of arms embargo in his speech at the African Summit,” Egypt and Africa website, February 12, 2020, available at:

[25]Future for Advanced Research and Studies: "A Different Map: Are New Patterns of Armed Groups Appearing in Somalia?" (Dubai: Future for Advanced Research and Studies, March 26, 2019), available at:

[26]“Kampala meeting discusses African forces withdrawal from Somalia,” New Somalia Foundation for Information, Research and Development, January 29, 2020, available at:

[27].“Security alert in Kenya in anticipation of attacks by Al-Shabaab,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, January 11, 2020, available at:

[28]Mogadishu Center for Research and Studies, “Why does the Somali government refuse to include Al-Shabaab on the list of terrorist organizations?”, 25 August 2019, available at:

[29]Mahmoud Ali Nour, “Is Establishing Awakening in Somalia a Sound Idea?”, Mogadishu: Mogadishu Center for Research and Studies, February 16, 2019, available at:

[30]“Somali Army Commander Meets U.S. Officers at Baledogle Base,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, January 23, 2020, available at:

[31]These statistics are compiled by the researcher by monitoring all terrorist operations in which Al-Shabaab was involved from January 2020 to February 15, 2020.

[32]Suhaib Abdul Rahman, “Features of the future of ISIS in Somalia after the killing of al-Baghdadi,” Hafriyat, November 25, 2019, available at:

[33]. Defence Web, US, Kenya launch first overseas Joint Terrorism Task Force, 11 February 2020, available at:

[34]“Washington Delivers 6 Attack Helicopters for the Kenyan Army,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, 27 January 2020, available at:

[35]. Defence Web, AFRICOM commander visits Kenya, Somalia, to emphasize partnership, security, 14 February 2020, available at:

[36]“Britain warns its citizens against traveling to regions in Kenya,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, January 12, 2020, available at:

[37]. PETER FABRICIUS, "Somalia shoots itself in the foot," Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 11 January 2019, available at:

[38]“About 20 People Killed in Tribal Battles in Lower Juba”, New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, February 4, 2020, available at:

[39]. Claire Felter, Jonathan Masters, and Mohammed Aly Sergie, Op.cit.

[40] “Somali Government Accuses Kenya of Interfering in its Political and Security Affairs,” New Somalia Foundation for Media, Research and Development, 5 February 2020, available at:

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