Somali Civil War


The Somali Conflict is a multifaceted dispute triggered by the fall of President Said Barre regime on 27 January 1991. General Barre’s dictatorship was synonymous with extreme brutality, suppression of opposition groups, both nationalistic and Islamic, and exacerbation of interclan rivalries (clannism).  By 1988, the dissatisfaction with the government led to nationalist groups throughout the country, with Northern Somalia (modern-day Somaliland) leading the charge, to attack government and military posts, prompting the First Somali Civil war (1988-1991).  The fall of General Barre’s regime created a power vacuum in which nationalist and Islamic groups, warlords, clan and sub-clan militias and other actors aimed to take control of portions of territory to govern. Subsequently, regional and international institutions initiated various peace and reconciliation processes in an attempt to create a stable and robust federal government, with various degrees of success.  The lack of clear and unified vision from the Somali Federal Government and its federal states, as well as the inability to cohesively combat the threat of al-Shabaab, despite the support from African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the US, has propelled the Somali conflict. The interclan rivalries have fuelled the tension between the Federal government and the regional states, making the consensus and state-building, as well as peacebuilding, process strenuous. Moreover, the desire for oil exploration in the country will future prolong the conflict among the clans and sub-clans.

The combination of the internal and external factors has resulted in more than a million deaths. As a result of conflict and humanitarian crises, some which were man-made, millions more have fled to neighbouring countries. Many of the refugees have fled to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, which is the largest refugee camps in the world. The desire for the Kenyan government to close the refugee camp, citing national security, will further complicate the Somali crisis.   

The current efforts to stabilise the conflict in Somalia is occurring both in the local and regional/international spaces. In the domestic setting, the Federal Government of Somalia (FSG) is trying to stabilise the country through building national consensus between the government and the regional states. This is critical to the peace process since many of the Somali politicians either were former warlords, control large militias or have a significant influence in their clans and sub-clans. Without the support of clans and sub-clans, it is close to impossible to maintain peace in Somalia.  In addition to the government efforts, Somalis, as well as Somalis in the diaspora, have engaged in peacebuilding efforts – trying to tackle issues such as youth radicalisation and unemployment, two key factors that contribute to recruitment into extremist groups.

The local federal peace process is supported by the regional and international actors, namely the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), respectively. AMISOM plays both a positive and negative role in the peace process. AMISOM’s role in the peace process has been primarily militarily where they support the Somali National Army in their fight against al-Shabaab, Islamic State in Somalia (ISS) and other extremist forces while building their capacity so that they can take over the security-related activities in the country. Due to their efforts, they have become frequent targets of the al-Shabaab attacks. Despite their role in lessening the territorial gains of al-Shabaab and generally decreasing insecurity in parts of the country, the historical and current tumultuous relationship between Somalia and Kenya and Ethiopia respectively is of great concern for the peace process. Al-Shabaab frequently uses the involvement of the two countries in gaining support from the locals who distrust the two nations. Somalis tend to question whether the troops are working to secure their country’s national interest in Somalia, or they are genuinely attempting to support the Somali government’s efforts to stabilise the country and free the land of extremist forces. Regardless of the Somali sentiment, both countries will remain part of the AMISOM due to the increased threat from al-Shabaab and its ability to conduct cross border attacks in the region. UNSOM supports the Federal government in their reconciliation peace process, which is mainly done through the emerging federalism process, institutionalising ideas of human rights, gender equality and the rule of law and assists with the humanitarian aid.

For more information on Al-Shabaab and the Islamic State’s influence in Somalia, please find links to our additional pages below:


Where: Somalia

Population: 12.3 Million (UNFPA 2014)

Dates of conflict:  1988-1991, 1991 – 2000, 2007 – present  

Deaths: approximately 1 million


Refugees/Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) – 1.1 million 

Key actors

The current Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) was created through a constitutional process and approved on August 20th, 2012. Before this, Somalia was governed by the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) which was formed through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) led process, the Eldoret Conference (2004). The FGS’ peace initiatives revolve around reconciliation. Following decades of conflict, it is vital for the government to address the grievances that clans and sub-clans have. One of the ways the government is addressing reconciliation is through the creation of the federalist system. The federalist system is supposed to stabilise the country by giving the six federal states more autonomy. If this peacebuilding effort is done effectively, it can lessen the interclan rivalries which not only paralyses the operations of the country but is sometimes have been exploited by al-Shabaab. Another way the government is dealing the reconciliation is through instituting a 30% women quota in parliament. This is vital since women have traditionally been left out of governance and peacebuilding matters in Somalia. Somali tradition dictates that contentious issues that affect the community should be addressed by the Guutri or the traditional leaders. Though the women quota has not been met by the government, the conversation of equality of women and men is increasingly being discussed with the society.

The 2012 constitutional change that brought about the Federal Government of Somalia (FSG) created a federalist system which divides the country into regional states; 1) Galmudug, 2) Hirshabelle, 3(South West State, 4) Jubbaland, 5) Puntland and 6) Somaliland. The capital city of Mogadishu is part of the Banadir Regional Administration which is not governed under any regional state. The Federalist system was created in an attempt to tackle the issues of lack of equal clan representation in government and division of resources. These two issues have caused many inter-clan and inter-sub-clan conflict. Currently, the Federal Government and the regional states have a poor relationship, with two out of five states refusing to work directly with the FGS.

On paper, the federalist system can contribute to the stabilisation of Somalia, but the reality is that the implementation of the federal system has created more issues. For starters, the addition of Somaliland as a regional state is a contentious issue since they declared their independence from Somalia during the first Somali Civil War (1988-1992). Somaliland is not recognised by any country though it enjoys trade relationships with most of the regional countries, as well as the Gulf States. Secondly, the recent push for exploration of oil in Somalia has turned the tensions between the regional states and the Federal Government to an all-time high. The tensions reached a tipping point when the regional government of Puntland dissolved all its relations with the Federal government.  

Who are they: Al-Shabaab, whose official name is Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen which loosely translates as the Youth Movement, is an extremist group operating in Somalia but with the capability to conduct attacks in the region. They aim to; 1) overthrow the Somali government and install a radical Islamist government ruled under a strict interpretation of the Quran and 2) the creation of the “Greater Somalia” which is unifying the Somali people divided into four countries (discussed above).

Target: Their main target is government and military-related posts in Somalia. They also target AMISOM and UN forces as they support the government’s efforts in the country. Al-Shabaab says that they will rid Somalia of all foreign countries operating in the country.

Finances: al-Shabaab is known to kidnap aid workers in Somalia in the hope that the organisation or the country they belong to will pay the ransom money. In terms of finances, other than ransom money payments, al-Shabaab forces people in their territory to pay taxes and set up checkpoints to extort drivers. Additionally, they are profiting from the charcoal trade where they sell their product in the Gulf states.

Fighters: It is estimated that there are between 4000 and 7000 al-Shabaab militants, which includes the foreign fighters. Due to the many restrictions related to travel, the militant group relies on the kidnapping of children and youths for reinforcement

The Islamic State in Somalia (ISS), led by Abdul Qadir Mumin, is a splinter group from al-Shabaab. They are predominately located in the Golis Mountains in the Puntland regional state. They announced their split in 2016 and soon after pledged their alliance to al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant. The group is still at its infancy with an estimated 500 and 1000 members. They have claimed few attacks in Puntland regional state. ISS faces assaults from the Puntland military and also from al-Shabaab militants. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has been increasing its airstrikes in the region, killing their members.

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union (AU) with the approval of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Its original mandate was to support the national reconciliation process, the defence of government of officials and protection of critical installations in Mogadishu. The mandate has also evolved to support the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations of the Somali Security Forces to combat extremist groups such as al-Shabaab. Furthermore, their mandate now includes building the capacity of Somali security agencies, which will enable them to hand over security responsibilities to the Somali security forces gradually. AMISOM is intended to withdraw its troops from Somalia by 2020-21.

AMISOM’s peacebuilding role is to secure the country, through lessening the influence of al-Shabaab, so that the Federal Government of Somalia (FSG) can operate without any pressure from non-state actors. The military-minded peacebuilding approach has had many problems, especially in the beginning, when the soldiers would indiscriminately target civilians after al-Shabaab attacks. The lack of proper training of the soldiers in matters related to human rights and sexual gender-based violence negatively impacted their ability to interact with the communities, which is an essential part of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. Following training from different international actors, AMISOM has decreased its civilian casualty rate. Additionally, the mission has placed significant effort to build its humanitarian department, which does projects connected to internally displaced peoples, famine, and providing health service. The impact of the humanitarian department is limited by the allocation of funds since AMISOM is still operating as a military-focused peacebuilding mission. The civilian component of AMISOM supports the Federal Government of Somalia’s efforts of reconciliation through the creation of space where key stakeholders such as women and civil society can engage in discussion with the government about the road map to a better and safer Somalia.

Note: AMISOM troop-contributing countries are Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti. Other African nations contribute to the AMISOM police force.

The United States primary involvement has primarily been to assist with the counterterrorism efforts against extremist groups, i.e. al-Shabaab and Islamic State in Somalia. The counterterrorism efforts, conducted by United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), are part of the broader strategy of decapitation. Decapitation is the killing and/or arresting of leaders and high-ranking officials with the assumption that without such individuals, the group will not operate effectively, therefore, causing its demise. In a recent interview in May 2019, AFRICOM stated that their counterterrorism efforts are geared towards lessening the strength of al-Shabaab in order to force the extremist group into a political settlement.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) was established on 3rd June 2012 through a UNSC Resolution. UNSOM aims to support the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia by providing advice to the government, and AMISOM on matters such as peacebuilding, governance, security sector reform, the rule of law, the democratisation of Somalia, among other issues. Currently, they are working alongside the Federal Government of Somalia to develop the 2019 portfolio of the UN-Secretary General Peacebuilding Fund, which details the new state-building projects that the two entities will undertake this year. Some of the projects focus on stabilisation of the country, especially in those recently “liberated” areas from al-Shabaab, assisting Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) and leveraging women’s contribution in peacebuilding while promoting gender sensitivity and equality.

The European Union Mission in Somalia is a major partner of the Somali government. They support the federal government in a matter such as political change, improving security, development assistance and humanitarian aid. Through Operation ATALANTA, they support the Somali National Navy in patrolling the seas to reduce piracy.

Timeline of the crisis

1885 – 1969: By 1892, Somalia was colonised by French (Djibouti), Britain (British Somaliland and Northern Kenya), Italy (Somalia) and Abyssinian Empire (Ogaden region in Ethiopia). In 1945, Italy lost Italian Somaliland to the British as a consequence of being in the losing side of World War Two. The combined territory is hence force known as British Somaliland.  By 1949, Britain relinquishes its control of the area, and British Somaliland officially becomes Trust Territory of Somaliland, a United Nations Trusteeship, under Italian Administration. On 1st July 1960, Somalia gains its independence, and Aden Abdullahi Osman Daar becomes president until 1969.

1963 – 1967:  Shifta War commences between Kenya and Northern Province People’s Progressive Party (NPPPP).  NPPPP, an ethnically Somali political party, was supported by the Somali government. The NPPPP wanted to the northern part of Kenya, which is mainly ethnically Somalis, to secede to join Somalia. In 1967, Somalia and Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding ensuring that Somalia will not arm armed groups in Kenya In response to Somalia’s actions in the Shifta war, Kenya and Ethiopia sign Mutual Defense Pact in 1964.  This was necessary at the time since Somalia and Ethiopia were also fighting and conducting cross-border attacks in each other’s territory.

1969 – 1991: General Said Barre stages a bloodless military coup to become president. Said Barre comes to power soon after the assassination of the Somali president Abdirashid Ali Shermarke. His 22-year dictatorship is characterised by; 1) the marginalisation of all clan that does not belong to the Ogaden clan family, and 2) oppression of nationalist and Islamic groups

July 1977- March 1978: Ogaden War between Somalia and Ethiopia over the disputed Ogaden region in Ethiopia, which is inhabited by mainly ethnically Somali people. Following the disastrous war, the Said Barre regime signed an agreement with Ethiopia that both sides pledged not to aid any opposition groups operating in their respective countries. Ethiopia was supporting the Somali nationalist groups operating from their territory while Somalia funded the ethnically Somali groups operating in the Ogaden region. At the end of the disastrous war, few soldiers attempted to stage a coup but failed. As a result, 17 military commanders accused of being organisers of the attempted coup against Said Barre are publicly executed.

By 1988, the conditions within Somalia had worsened significantly that the Somali National Movement (SNM) began attacking government and military posts in Northern Somalia, initiating the Somali First Civil War. While SNM fought in the North, the United Somali Congress (USC), in coordination with other smaller groups, fought against General Barre in Mogadishu. During this four-year conflict, over 300,000 Somalis died as a result of war-related casualties, hunger, and disease.

The pressure from the United Somali Congress (USC), in coordination with other smaller groups, ultimately forced President Barre to flee outside Somalia.

The sense of victory over defeating General Said Barre was short lived since the coalitions created to defeat him collapsed due to inter-clan conflicts. When the alliance between the two strongest leaders, General Aideed and Ali Ahmed, who were co-founders of the United Somali Congress (USC), broke out, fighting between them resulted in the ultimate Battle for Mogadishu. The fighting between the two parties caused the United Nations to intervene. Eventually, General Aideed declared himself president, but it was short-lived because he was shot by one of his supporters.

The Battle of Mogadishu leaves several civilians and eighteen United States park rangers dead. This is commonly known as “Black Hawk Down.” The dead soldiers were dragged through the streets and filmed. The footage was later shown on CNN causing public backlash to the US’s involvement in Somalia. The United States later pulls out of Somalia.

The conflict between the General Aideed and Ali Mahdi in Mogadishu caused the United Nations to intervene through a Security Council Resolution. Through this process, the United Task Force in Somalia (UNITAF), a US-led military operation, was deployed in 1993. The most notable of confrontation was the Black Hawk Down incident where suspected General Aideed supporters shot down a US military plane. The event led to the death of 18 US troops who were then paraded around the city as a sign of victory over the Americans. The US military immediately abandoned their mission in Somalia following the incident. A combination of the Black Hawk Down incident and the deaths of other UN peacekeepers forced the UN to begin the process of withdrawing personnel from Somalia.

The new millennium brought about a renewed effort to re-establish a Somali Federal Government. Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a Horn and East African regional institution, spearheaded the processes. In 2000, the Arta declaration, the basis of all subsequent Somali governments, was signed in Djibouti. The declaration asserted that all future Somali governments would use the 4:5 formula which states that the four main clans – Dorad, Hawiye, Dir (includes the Isaaq) and Rahanweym (Digil-Mirifle)) will have equal representation in government while the other smaller clans will share the rest of the representation. Following the collapse of the transitional government, which was also created through the Arta Declaration, the Eldoret Conference created the Somali Transitional Federal Government/Parliament (TFG/P). The TFG/P governed Somalia until the creation of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in 2012.

The United Islamic Courts (UIC) is a predecessor of al-Shabaab. UIC as formed when it splintered from Al-Ittihad al-Islamiyah (AIAI), a relatively moderate Islamic group. When UIC was established, they immediately had an instant connection with the business community in Mogadishu. The business community believed in the UIC’s ability to maintain peace and security in the city since they did not charge taxes and other forms of payment like the other warlords who controlled different neighbourhoods in Mogadishu. The business community did not mind the Islamic rhetoric as they saw their version of Islamism as more moderate compared to other groups. By 2006, UIC had grown in popularity and military strength. Following their military build-up, UIC challenged the authority of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The two sides fought for the control of Mogadishu in which UIC won, forcing the TFG to relocate the seat of government to Baidoa. Since UIC was created with remnants of AIAI, the Ethiopian government was concerned over its rise. By December 2006, the Ethiopian military had invaded Somalia, with the support of the US, to oust the UIC from power, which only took a month.

The African Mission in Somalia is a peacebuilding mission approved and sanctioned by the African Union and United Nations. Following the approval in February, Uganda and Burundi had deployed troops to support the Somali Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) efforts to stabilise the country.

Note: Analysts claims that one of the reasons why AMISOM was approved quickly was due to the US supported the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian troops to remove UIC from power. Ethiopian troops need an exit strategy following the defeat of UIC since they were technically breaking the 1992 UN arms embargo

More information about AMISOM, refer to section AMISOM in key actors

The United States State Department designates groups such as al-Shabaab into its Foreign Terrorist Organisation list, as part of section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The United States was one of the first international actors who classified al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation. The predecessors of al-Shabaab, al-Ittihad al-Islamiyah and United Islamic Courts, were both designated as terrorist groups.

The twin bombings in Puntland and Somaliland used six suicide bombers who drove explosives-laden vehicles into high targets. In Somaliland, they targeted the presidential palace, the Ethiopian consulate and the UNDP offices while in Puntland they targeted the Intelligence Service building

Following the reports of Ayro’s death, many analysists began stating that the slain al-Shabaab leader Godane was the new leader. The new book, Inside al-Shabaab by Harun Maruf, claims that the CIA made a mistake thinking that Ayro was the leader of al-Shabaab. From the beginning, Godane was the Emir, or leader, of the extremist group.

Between 2007 and 2011, al-Shabaab took advantage of the weak Somali government and its security agencies, as well as the ill-equipped AMISOM, and began the process of solidifying its insurgency in Somalia by capturing territory. Kismayo was an essential gain for al-Shabaab since they were able to fully control a key port city where they could export illicit goods such as charcoal, as well as gain income by taxing locals from using the port. The fight for Kismayo was relatively easy for al-Shabaab since they were fighting pro-government clan militias who were inexperienced. The person who led the pro-government militia, Ahmed “Madobe” is the current regional president of Jubbaland.

  • A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the popular Medina hotel. The devastating attack killed the Somali Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden, the former Somali Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Abdikarim Farah and several Somali diplomats.

July 2010: Al-Shabaab conducts the “World Cup” Bombings in Uganda killing over 70 people.

The “World Cup” bombing in Kampala, Uganda was their first major attack outside Somalia which sent shock waves throughout the region. The explosion came just two days after al-Shabaab leader, Godane, issued a fatwa, declaring jihad against all Troop Contributing Countries. Previous to this, al-Shabaab had conducted small cross border attack to Ethiopia and Kenya.

Note: At this point, Troop Contributing Countries were Uganda and Burundi.

The “World Cup” bombing in Kampala, Uganda is a critical turning point to the fight against al-Shabaab. The ability to conduct a devastating attack outside Somalia demonstrated the military capability of the group, which until then was underestimated. The shock of the attack led to an emergency meeting with AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries and the UN, which resulted in the change of mandate. The mandate called for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts to lessen the threat of al-Shabaab. Therefore, the AMISOM mandate became more militarily driven rather than utilising the three components of the mission, military, civilian and police. Previously, AMISOM’s mandate was limited to defensive work, i.e. the protection of Somali government officials and key installations such as ports and federal buildings. With the new mandate and the general fear of the threat of al-Shabaab, AMISOM troop increased by 12000 troops within a couple of months.

The Battle of Mogadishu took place in two major pushes. The first started in August 2010, where AMISOM and Somali forces tried to regain control of the districts within the capital city under al-Shabaab control. The joint military operation was unable to recover any of the nine districts that the extremist group controlled. The government and pro-government militias controlled eight districts by 2010. The final battle for Mogadishu to “liberate” the city from al-Shabaab began in May 2011 following the increased troop strength of AMISOM. Though the joint AMISOM and Somali National Army did not “liberate” all the districts, a final push led to the Somali government controlling 13 out of the 16 districts. Months later, al-Shabaab fighters retreated from the remaining three districts.

UN reports that al-Shabaab militants have blocked relief workers form assisting millions affected by conflict, drought and famine. Al-Shabaab banned food and medicine from reaching drought-affected areas. Al-Shabaab decision to block aid worsened the drought which killed tens of thousands. In addition to blocking aid, al-Shabaab militants raided aid agencies offices in southern Somalia.

The October 2011 al-Shabaab bombing in Mogadishu is one of their most devastating attacks. The suicide bomber denoted bombs at a checkpoint leading to the Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) Ministerial complex. This was a catastrophic attack since it killed mostly students who were awaiting the news of scholarships to Sudan and Turkey form the Ministry of Higher Education.

Operation Linda Inchi, which translates to Operation Lead the Country, was a predominantly Kenya Defense Force (KDF) operation in Southern Somalia. The Kenyan government argued that the operation was necessary since al-Shabaab posed a threat to the country. The extremist groups were accused of coordinating kidnappings of mainly foreigners in Kenya and conducting cross-border attacks. Since the operation was not sanctioned, as described in the UN charter, Kenya and Somalia, two days after the military operation began, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which detailed reasons for Kenya’s involvement in Somalia.

Note: At the time of the operation, KDF was not part of the AMISOM which violated the 1992 UN arms embargo, as well as Somalia sovereignty. Also, this was not the first military operation that Kenya had conducted in Somalia, but instead, they had done small scale operations near the border with Somalia.

In an attempt to gain global notoriety, al-Shabaab formally pledges their alliance to al-Qaida following years of cooperation between the two extremist groups. Al-Qaida’s involvement in the Somali conflict began when then leader of the group, Osama bin Laden, was in exile in Sudan. It is reported that the al-Qaida leader sent his officials to Somalia to see how the organisation could partake in the conflict. It is also said that al-Qaida had to aid some Somali groups in their quest to overthrow the government. Some of the top al-Shabaab leadership, including al-Afghani and Robow, had trained in the al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan.

Note: Also in the same month, al-Shabaab strengthened their ties with a group in Puntland, which later broke away to become the Islamic State in Somalia, and al-Hijra or Muslim Youth Centre in Mombasa, Kenya, which has been designated by the US State Department Foreign Terrorist Organisation list.

Al-Shabaab’s loss of the fishing port of Merca (Marka) is significant as it comes when AMISOM, in coordination with Somali forces, have increased efforts to “liberate” towns and cities from the control of the extremist group. It is reported that the al-Shabaab fighters have been fleeing towards the port city of Kismayo, their strongest stronghold.

One of the significant accomplishments that occurred despite the Somali conflict raging on is the creation of the Somali Federal Government (SFG). The creation of FGS is seen as a major step in the stabilisation efforts for Somalia, which would be made complete when the threat of al-Shabaab is reduced.

The liberation of the port city of Kismayo from al-Shabaab by AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) was high among the list of priorities for AMISOM. The port remained critical in al-Shabaab’s operations since they used the port to export illicit goods such as charcoal and force taxes on locals who tried to use the port. Within four days of the battle for Kismayo, al-Shabaab fighters retreated from the city. AMISOM and other foreign actors believed that the liberation of Kismayo was signalling of the decline of al-Shabaab.

The assassination of Omar Hammami, who was extremely influential in the creation of charismatic recruitment videos, by al-Shabaab sent a clear message to other leaders that those who disapprove of Emir Godane’s vision can be killed. Since Omar Hammami detailed the assassination attempts on his life on Twitter, the world was able to get a clearer view of the rising internal divisions in al-Shabaab.

The Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi was their first large scale attack in Nairobi, Kenya. The armed attack, which lasted four days, was heavily broadcasted throughout Kenya and the world. The attack was another reminder that al-Shabaab could stage a coordinated and lethal attack on neighbouring countries, despite the tactical defeats in Somalia. Secondly, the Westgate attack illustrated the inefficiencies in the Kenyan intelligence and security services since they had known for two years that al-Shabaab was planning to attack the mail. Unfortunately, the response from the Kenyan government was the suppression of the rights of ethnically Somalis through arbitrary arrests and detention and the closing down of shops and money-lending services in Eastleigh, a predominantly Somali neighbourhood in Nairobi. Studies have shown that the continual practice of marginalisation of the Muslim community plays into al-Shabaab’s hand since they can exploit the situation and recruit hundreds of Somalis.

The arrest of the 69 people in Tanzania for running an al-Shabaab child indoctrination camp came at a time when the Tanzanian Government was adamant that there is no Islamist or extremist movement in the country. The government’s denial mainly stems from the fact that there had not been a major terrorist incident since the bombing of the US embassy in 1998. Smaller attacks targeting churches had been on the rise. However, the increase of arrests of individuals linked to al-Shabaab forced the government to put resources to combat the problem before it becomes a severe issue. Studies have shown that Tanzania has increasingly become a preferred route to those trying to join al-Shabaab.

The 20-day operation in Central Somalia resulted in the liberation of eight of the ten districts, including Xudur and Ceel Buur.

Operation Indian Ocean was a two-month operation aimed to “seise, secure and stabilise key districts along the coastlines in all sectors.” The operation was able to “liberate” Baraawe, a major al-Shabaab stronghold, and secured the Beledweyne-Bulo Butro road which al-Shabaab had closed off to aid relief trucks.

A US airstrike killed al-Shabaab’s Emir Godane in Baraawe during Operation Indian Ocean. The death of Godane ushered the reign of Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ubeyda.

Al-Shabaab militants hijack a bus in Mandera, Kenya and killed 28 non-Muslims on board. Al-Shabaab issued a statement stating that the attack was revenge for raids carried out by Kenyan security forces on mosques in the coastal city of Mombasa. The assault on the mosques in Mombasa resulted in the arrest of more than 150 people and confiscation of explosives.

Operation Ocean Build in November designed to “enhancing stabilisation by holding key population centres and protecting their inhabitants and movements along the main supply routes.” The operation resulted in the recapture of Kudhaa Island. Besides, the operation resulted in the deaths of al-Shabaab leaders such as the Intelligence Chief Tahilil Abdishakur, Chief of External Operations Tahlil Yusuf Dheeq, and Dheeq’s immediate successor and mastermind of the Westgate Mall attack, Adan Garaar. The immense pressure from the operation leads to putative Head of Military Intelligence, Zakariye Ahmed Ismail Hersi, to defect to Somali troops

Garissa University attack, which resulted in the death of 146 university students and two security guards, is the worst attack by al-Shabaab in Kenyan soil. Gun-wielding militants stormed the university and shot indiscriminately at the university students. The trial of five individuals accused of assisting with the attack began in January 2016 with 22 witnesses testifying against them. The accused denied all 156 counts against them. It was not until January 2019 did the court issue out their verdict, which found four of them guilty, and one was cleared of all charges due to lack of evidence.

Operation Jubba Corridor “liberated” the towns of Diinsoor, the presumed al-Shabaab headquarter following the recapture of Baraawe, Bardhere, Adan Yabal and Galcud.

A small segment of al-Shabaab broke off to become an independent group under the leadership of Abdiqadir Mumin allied to ISIS in 2015. Godane, the deceased Emir of al-Shabaab, appointed Abdiqadir Mumin as the Emir of al-Shabaab in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Northern Somalia. ISS is currently fighting in two fronts while being bombarded by US airstrikes. On one side, they are fighting against al-Shabaab fighters who did not follow in the footsteps of Emir Mumin and on the other side, they are fighting against Puntland security forces.

Al-Shabaab’s El Adde attack is one of their most devastating attacks on KDF contingent in Somalia. A suicide bomber donated his explosive-laden vehicle in front of the AMISOM garrison base gate. The powerful blast damaged the command and communication buildings, as well as an armoury and fuel depots of the base. Following the bombing, between 150 and 300 al-Shabaab militants stormed the base carrying rocket-propelled grenades and assault weapons. The relentless militants heavily pursued some of the escaping KDF soldiers, many of whom had only arrived in Somalia 2 week prior. Though the Kenyan government did not release the casualty figures, it is estimated that 100 soldiers were killed.

USAID’s Transition Initiative for Stabilisation (TIS) aims to “increase confidence in all levels of government through a targeted, strategic intervention that improves service delivery and government responsiveness.” This is done through projects that focus on quick impact stabilisation activities around the country. Thematic focus includes fostering increased citizen participation in governance, building the capacity of election management bodies, and increasing the awareness and general knowledge of legal rights, human rights and options for recourse.

Islamic State in Somalia attempted to take over the port town of Qandala in Puntland regional state. The held the town for a month before the Puntland Security Forces launched their offensive.

A suspected ISS roadside IED kills 8 Puntland soldiers. The group did not claim responsibility for the attack.

Similar to 2011, al-Shabaab has imposed a ban on humanitarian assistance in areas they control. Al-Shabaab added that anyone who is found to have contacted the aid agencies will be considered a spy and will be punished. The extremist group usually executes those they believe are spies. This move has raised alarms throughout the humanitarian aid sector since the last time they did this, it worsened the drought conditions which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Somalis.

Sheikh Mukhtar Robow is one of the founding leaders of al-Shabaab. Before co-founding al-Shabaab, Robow was a high-ranking leader of al-Ittihad al-Islamiyah (AIAI), a previous moderate extremist group that was defeated by Ethiopian forces and United Islamic Courts (UIC). Robow was in constant disagreement with Emir Godane over tactics of war. Additionally, Robow disapproved of the killing of innocent Muslims in their quest to overthrow the government. His vocal disapproval of Godane led to him being relieved from his duties. Robow’s defection was welcomed by the government since his militia followed in his footsteps.

Note: Robow was arrested and beaten by police while he was running for South West regional president in December 2018. His arrest triggered mass protests in the regional state in Somalia. His supported believed that he was arrested, so that is opponent, a supporter of the current president Farmajo, to win the election. UN envoy to Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, was kicked out of the country after he aired his dissatisfaction over the arbitrary arrest of Robow. The Somali government accused him of interfering in internal affairs.

An explosives-laden truck detonated at a busy crossroad near the Safari Hotel in Mogadishu. The presence of a fuel tanker parked near the explosion caused a massive fireball, adding to the death toll and damages. It was reported that the truck had 350-kg homemade and military grade explosives. Five hundred eighty-seven people lost their lives, and another 300 were injured. The Safari Hotel collapsed, and the Qatari embassy was severely damaged. The investigations on the explosion showed that the good and bad sides of Somali authorities and security forces. It is was discovered that the truck was stopped at a checkpoint but was released after the Somali authorities vouched for the driver. Shortly after, Somali security forces stopped the truck while in a traffic jam after noticing the truck was covered with tarpaulin. While the officers tried to search the car, the driver accelerated and crushed the car into a barrier which caused the explosion.

Note: a car with explosives was intercepted on the same day and was disposed of without any casualties. Police believe that the car was going to target AMISOM and UN staff. Also, a car bomb denoted 30 minutes after the first bomb and 300 meters away, killing two people.

The Somali Peace Building Fund aims to facilitate youth political empowerment by enabling Somali young women and men to meaningful engagement in governance, peacebuilding and reconciliation. This fund is crucial since two-thirds of the Somali population is under the age of 25.

Note: The Somali Peace Building Fund is part of the broader UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) which currently supports more than 120 projects in 25 countries.

The discussions among local leaders, police and community leaders aimed to establish a community forum and joint police community action plans in Galkayo, in Gulmaduug State in Somalia. The UN-led process hoped to safeguard the ceasefire between two regional states, Puntland and Gulmaduug who are fighting over boundaries of their respective territories. Following the discussions, participants partook in trainings on community policing and leadership

Al-Shabaab continues to conduct attacks in Kenya, with relative ease. This time, five Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) were killed in an attack in Lamu. The KDF spokesperson Lt Colonel Paul Njuguna disputed the reported casualties, saying that six soldiers were injured, two critically, but none have died.

Dusit hotel attack was a suicide bombing followed by a 19-hour armed assault which killed 11 people. Confusion about the attack occurred when the government was insistent that the siege had ended, but people in the neighbourhood were reporting gunshots periodically in the night and early in the morning. The four attacks who conducted the attack all were killed by security forces. Several possibilities have been presented for the reasoning for the attack. One reason why Dusit was attacked is possibly due to the proximity to three embassies and the presence of the international organisation in the premise of the hotel. Another reason is the attack was a three-year el-Adde attack commemoration where al-Shabaab stormed a KDF camp and killed possibly 100 soldiers. Thirdly, the attack on Dusit hotel could be interpreted as a way for al-Shabaab to communicate with the Kenyan government that they are still capable of conducting attacks in a secure location with ease.

Note: The Dusit hotel attack gave more insight into al-Shabaab. This was the first major attack where the public and government officials alike realised that al-Shabaab has been able to recruit non-Somalis to their ranks. Prior to this, in the Kenyan context, all the attackers were ethnically Somalis. This meant that al-Shabaab has successfully recruited converts into their ranks, as it has happened in Western countries.

The US steps up its airstrikes in Somalia, with the latest one killing 52 suspected militants.

During a commander-directed investigation of airstrikes conducted in Somalia since 2017, U.S. Africa Command learned an April 1, 2018 airstrike killed two civilians. On March 30, 2019, the command was notified about the results of a post-strike internal assessment conducted in April 2018 that found credible evidence of the two civilian casualties. Unfortunately, the finding was not adequately reported to U.S. Africa Command headquarters.

AFRICOM faced pressure to investigate allegations from Amnesty allegations that at least 8 civilians were killed as a result of US airstrikes.

Al-Shabaab commander, Adan Mohamed Aka Adan Shah defected to government forces in Bay region, South West Administration, Somalia. He defected by surrendering his weapons. The commander was in charge of carrying out the major attacks in the Bay region. Local media reports that he defected with another Al-Shabaab member, but state-owned media did not share their information, SONNA.

A US airstrike in Puntland kills the Deputy Leader of the Islamic State in Somalia, Abdulhakim Dhuqub.   

Unknown gunmen abducted two Cuban doctors heading to a government hospital. The assailants attacked the doctor’s police escort, one was shot dead while the other was just injured. The drive for the Cuban doctors was later arrested in connection with the attack. Later the two doctors were taken to al-Shabaab militants in Somalia where they have been treating al-Shabaab militants injured in attacks.

S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS-Somalia terrorists in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on April 26, 2019. This is the second precision airstrike U.S. Africa Command has executed in coordination with our Somali partners against ISIS-Somalia this month. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike on April 26 killed three (3) terrorists.

AFRICOM conducted two airstrikes against ISIS and al-Shabaab on two consecutive days. U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an ISIS-Somalia encampment in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on May 9, 2019. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike on May 9 killed four (4) terrorists. 

Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an ISIS-Somalia encampment in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on May 8, 2019. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike on May 8 killed thirteen (13) terrorists. 

An al-Shabaab car bomb near a checkpoint in Mogadishu kills 9 people and injures another 13 people. “A car bomb blast struck at a checkpoint near Daljirka, there are some casualties including members of the security forces,” security official Abdukadir Ahmed said after the attack in the south of the city on Wednesday. Among the dead was former Foreign Minister Hussein Elabe Fahiye who was an advisor to the current Somali President Farmaajo. Al Shabaab claimed the attack.

AFRICOM conducted two airstrikes in Somalia. S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike near Baled Amin, in the Lower Shabelle region, Somalia, against al-Shabaab militants where two terrorists were killed. U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS-Somalia terrorists in the Golis Mountains, Somalia where the airstrike killed two (2) terrorists.

Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on May 26, 2019. At this time, it is assessed that the airstrike killed three (3) militants. This is the sixth airstrike in the last month against ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab in the Golis Mountains.

Somali authorities in Bardale town in Southern Somalia announced that senior al-Shabaab commander, Ibrahim Mohamed Dan, defected to Somali forces. Ibrahim surrendered his AK47 rifle and a magazine to the authorities.

 Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS militants in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on June 4, 2019. At this time, it is assessed that the airstrike killed six (6) militants. This is the seventh airstrike in the last month against ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab in the Golis Mountains.

S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto met with senior Somali officials during a visit to Mogadishu, senior Somali officials included Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire. Discussions centred on the progress the U.S. interagency team has witnessed in Somalia, as well as U.S. whole-of-government support for the Federal Government of Somalia to set the conditions required for lasting security and stability. “U.S. security assistance to Somalia is an important part of our efforts to work with the people and government of Somalia for peace and stability,” said Yamamoto.  “Peace and stability for Somalia means more stability in the entire region.  It also means that the people of Somalia will be able to better focus on building a prosperous future.” “Groups such as al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia seek to create a bankrupt future for the Somali people,” said Waldhauser.  “Creating a more secure environment enables the Somali people and government to advance economic and development opportunities in Somalia.” 

At least 10 Kenyan police officer killed in a suspected al-Shabaab attack near the Somalia border. They were killed when their vehicle struck an IED.

Al Shabaab claims twin car bombings in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, that killed eight people. The first car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near the presidential palace while the second car bomb exploded at a checkpoint on the road to the airport. No casualties were reported following the second car bomb. “We have confirmed eight people killed and 16 others wounded in the blast,” the private Aamin Ambulance service told AFP news agency on Saturday.


 Africa Command conducted two airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on June 16, 2019. At this time, it is assessed that the airstrikes killed two (2) militants.

U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, June 24, 2019. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike killed one (1), militant

U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Kunyo Barrow, Somalia, June 25, 2019. At this time, we assess the airstrike killed one (1), militant. Precision airstrikes continue to put pressure on the al-Shabaab network and degrade its efforts to intimidate and terrorise the local population. These strikes damage the militants’ financial networks and inhibit their freedom of movement in the region.

Mukhtar Mohamed Adi, aka Mukhtar Ganey, defected to Somali intelligence (NISA). Adi was part of the Jabha forces in Bay and Bakool regions in Somalia from 2008. He had been previously detained by government forces for links with American al-Shabaab commander, Abu Mansour Al-Amriki but was released.

In the evening, Al-Shabaab militants detonated a Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosion Device (VBIED) outside the As-Asey hotel in Kismayo. Following the bombing, Al-Shabaab militants stormed the hotel. 16 hours later, the Somali security forces ended the siege. 26 people died as a result of the attack, including a prominent Somali Canadian activist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband. Tribal leaders and regional president aspirant were also among the dead. Nationals from Kenya, Tanzania, and the UK were among the dead. 56 people were also injured in the attack.

Many analysts suggest the hotel was targeted because it was housing many of the delegates in town to elect the Jubaland parliament and later, the presidency. “There were many people, including officials and elders, mostly from one clan, who were discussing the coming Kismayo election.”


Al-Shabaab militants carried out an attack near a busy security checkpoint outside Afrik Hotel, killing 17 people and injuring dozens more. “A suicide bomber drove the rigged car into a security checkpoint … at the highway road leading to the airport. We have collected and confirmed the bodies of 17, including the suicide bomber,” Ahmed Bashane, a police officer, told the media.

A New York Times expose claims that Qatar is responsible for some attacks in Somalia. The media house said they had obtained an audio recording from a phone conversation between Qatari ambassador to Somalia and Qatari businessmen close to the Emir of Qatar boasting about militants who had carried out a bombing in the port city of Bosasso, Puntland administration. The attack was meant to advance Qatari interest by driving out rivals, United Arab Emirates (UAE). A UAE affiliated company- DP World, runs the port of Bosasso. The bombing that the audio is recalling took place in May 2018 outside Bosasso courthouse that wounded 10 people, including a judiciary official. In another incident, unknown gunmen assassinated the Head of DP World in Bosasso on 3rd

Qatar denied the allegations by the New York Times. “The state of Qatar’s foreign policy has always been one of creating stability and prosperity – we do not meddle in the internal affairs of sovereign Anybody doing so is not acting on behalf of our government,” the statement said in part.

Somalia came for Qatar’s Defense, with the Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Isse saying, “the Qatari government released a statement that they shared with us in which they denied the claim. And we are satisfied with it.”

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive at the mayor’s office while Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman was chairing a security meeting. Eleven people, all government officials including district commissioners, were killed by the blast. The mayor was seriously injured and was later taken to Qatar for specialised treatment. The UN Support Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) head, Ambassador James Swan, was earlier at the security meeting but left before the bombing.

Following the attack, Somali security agencies revealed a blind female suicide bomber. She had been working in the mayor’s office for at least a year before the attack. This is the fifth time that al-Shabaab used a female suicide bomber.


U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS terrorists in the Golis Mountain region, Somalia, on July 27, 2019.  At this time, it is assessed that the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist who played a crucial role in facilitation for the group. “Airstrikes like these remain an effective tool in the counter-terrorist campaign against ISIS and al-Shabab,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. William West, deputy director of operations, U.S. The Golis Mountains are a known area for terrorist activity. Precision airstrikes such as these support Somali security forces efforts to protect the Somali people from terrorism and support long-term security in the region. 

A military court sentenced a suspected ISIS member, Adan Mohamed Ali (25) to death by firing squad. Adan Ali is accused of killing five people, including civilians and a security official in separate incidents in 2018 and 2019. The attacks took place in the port city of Bosaso, Puntland State and Mogadishu, capital of Somalia.

Mogadishu Mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman died from injuries sustained in an al-Shabaab attack at his office last week. Following the attack, the Mayor was transported to Qatar to get specialised treatment.


In a military operation, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) took control of Awdheegle town from Al-Shabaab. The recapture of the town is a significant victory to Somalia as the town served as a major source of revenue.

Army General Stephen Townsend, the New commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), visited Somalia and pledged to continue pressuring Al-Shabaab and Islamic State (ISS). He said “I am committed to working together and advancing our partnership with Somalia,” Townsend said in the release. “Along with Somalia and other international partners, we will apply continued pressure on violent extremist organisations. This pressure creates conditions and opportunity for further political and economic development.” “We’re in the business of protecting our country from these threats,” Townsend said. “Degrading the capability of terrorists who operate here makes the entire region safer and prevents its export to other places. This is important work for our country, the Somalis and our allies.”

Two al-Shabaab fighters surrendered to Somali government forces in Jubaland. The two militants, Gedi Mohamed Ali and Abdulaziz Mohamed, were paraded in Afmadow town. They surrender their weapons as well.

  • The two defections come after two other militants defected five days prior in Dinsor Town, South West administration.

At least 9 people are reportedly killed, including government forces, after double suicide car bombs were detonated. The vehicle bombs targeted a military base in Awdhegle town, lower Shabelle, Somalia. The attack also killed two al-Shabaab militants.

S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab terrorist in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on August 20, 2019. At this time, it is assessed that the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist. “This strike is an example of the pressure U.S. Africa Command places on terrorist networks, including the al-Qaida aligned al-Shabaab,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “This persistent pressure limits the terrorists’ freedom of movement, creates confusion within the network, and supports our Somali partners as they continue to take the fight to al-Shabaab.”

Clashes between Ma’awisley, a local militia group affiliated to Somali Government, and Al-Shabaab were reported in the outskirts of Jowhar, Middle Shabelle, in Southern Somalia. Ma’awisley claim to have killed 11 al Shabaab militants and injured an additional 15. The clash occurred after al-Shabaab militants attempted to attack a military base


Two al-Shabaab militants surrender to government forces in Bay region in Southern Somalia. “The two al-Shabab operatives identified as Mohamed Hassan Osman and Hussein Marshale Mohamed defected from the al-Shabab extremist group and joined government forces in Dinsor town in Bay region,” said Ibrahim Mohamed Nour, governor of Dinsor.


African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM handed over the Warsheikh Forward Operating Base (FOB) which was manned by Burundi National Defense Force (DNDF) since 2014. As part of the Somali Transitional Plan, AMISOM is supposed to hand over security responsibilities to Somali security forces. The FOB serves to protect the key route that secures the Mogadishu-Cadale main supply route to enable free movement of goods and people.

Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Burundi AMISOM contingent, killing at least 12 troops. The terrorist group claimed to have killed 14 troops. The Burundian contingent was travelling on the road linking Mogadishu and Jowhar.

US Africa Command conducted an airstrike on Al-Shabaab insurgents after they attacked a Somali patrol northwest of Kismayo, Lower Juba Province, Somalia on Sept. 17.   At this time, it is assessed that the airstrike killed two (2) terrorists. 

Somali National Army (SNA) liberated three villages from Al-Shabaab in Bay region in Southwestern region of Somalia. Nour Ali Mohamed, acting commander of the Somali military’s 154th battalion, told media that Somali forces liberated Rahole, Biyo-dhale and Bandhub villages from al-Shabaab after an operation against the group in the region.

Somali National Army (SNA) and Al-Shabaab fighters clash in El-Salini area in Lower Shabelle region in Somalia. SNA claims to have killed 13 militants while Al-Shabaab claims to have killed 23 soldiers. The SNA offer refuted AS claims through another officer claimed that 8 soldiers were killed and several others injured.

Mr Fawaz Ahmed Hamdun, one of the most wanted al-Shabaab operatives, was arrested at his house in Mombasa. Mr Hamdun is linked to the DusitD2 complex attack in January 2019 in Nairobi. The accused allegedly played a key role in facilitating the re-entry of DusitD2 suicide bomber Mahir Riziki to Kenya from Somalia to execute the attack. Mr Hamdun was placed on the most-wanted terror list after he was accused of killing a police officer at the Royal Court Hotel in 2014. He then fled to Tanzania. Also, he has helped other young radicalised youth to go to fight in Somalia

Al-Shabaab conducted two separate attacks against the US and Italy in Somalia. The militants hit US base in Baledogle, with explosives before gunmen opened fire on the compound. in Mogadishu, the militants attacked an Italian convoy were train the Somali National Army. Both the EU and the US confirmed the attacks, adding that no personnel were killed or injured by the attack. Interestingly, the attack on the Italian convoy was on the one anniversary of an attack on an Italian convoy in Mogadishu.

A group of Somali police officers travel to Turkey to receive counterterrorism training. The six-week course is part of a deal between Turkish and Sudanese governments. Currently, 10 police officers have been trained by Turkish officers on how to check residential areas for terror threats and neutralise terrorists in those areas, on handling landmines and homemade explosive devices and how to respond to attacks. They learned about types of explosives they may come across in counterterrorism operations and how to carry out counterterrorism raids.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and UN Support Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) ended their five-day meeting in Mogadishu, where they agreed on a comprehensive roadmap to guide activities from 2019 to 2021. The Concept of Operations (CONOPs) outlined the main activities that will be undertaken under the Somali Transitional Plan, which details AMISOM’s withdrawal from Somalia. AMISOM and UNSOM hope that by 2021, AMISOM would have handed over security responsibilities to Somali security forces.

At least ten General Service Unit (GSU) officers were killed when their vehicle ran over an IED on Degoh road in Garissa. The GSU officers were patrolling the road along the Kenya-Somalia border when the attack took place. A joint patrol team of Kenya Defense Forces, Administration Police, Rapid Response Police Unit and Police have been dispatched to the area.

Police in Somalia has handed over two suspected al-Shabaab members to Kenyan authorities. The duo is suspected of having fled to Somalia after committing crimes in Kenya. The two suspects were found with several loaded firearms and other explosives.

Al-Shabaab attacked Dabajabula police station, Wajir county, in Kenya, where two suspected militants were arrested. They attacked the police station with heavy artillery, including Rocket-propelled grenades (RPG). For twenty minutes, the police, backed later by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), and the militants exchanged fire. By the end, 2 militants were killed, and two police officers and a reservist were nursing injuries.

Clashes between Somali National Army, backed by Jubaland regional state forces, and Al-Shabaab results in the death of seven militants and wounding eight others. A senior commander commented on the clashes, saying that “We started the offensive in Koban village passing through Bangeni, Arare and Mana Mufo villages and there was stiff resistance from the militants, but our forces finally drove them out of those villages.” A villager confirmed the incident, adding that “Al-Shabaab militants in the town were attacked by the government army, both sides exchanged heavy fire, but the forces are now in the town and the militants are outside of it.” 

3 al-Shabaab members were charged with planting IEDs in Mogadishu on various targets. Two suspects were accused of planting nine IEDs targeting government forces and African Union peacekeepers while the third was accused of storing IEDs in his shop. One of the suspects, who is accused of joining the terror group in 2016, had previously been arrested for training others in making car bombs but was released.

Somali military court based in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, has sentenced eight men and a woman after being found guilty of being part of the terror group, Al-Shabaab, One suspect was sentenced to life in prison, five were sentenced to 15 years in prison while 2 were sentenced to 8 years. One suspected who was accused of the rest was found to be innocent and was released.


AFRICOM commander, Gen Stephen Townsend, met with Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo” and Somali National Army (SNA) Chief of Staff, Gen. Mohamed Ali Barise. The objective of his trip is to 1) discuss the US and Somalia security development since his last visit in July, 2) visit American troops and asses the progress of the US counterterrorism campaign in East Africa and 2) assess the progress made against Al-Shabaab and ISIS. Gen Townsend said, “Al-Shabaab, and ISIS, are a threat to our African partners, to U.S. interests in East Africa as well as to the U.S. homeland. They possess the desire and intent to attack the U.S. Due to the persistent pressure our campaign puts on al-Shabaab and ISIS, we believe they lack the actual capability to attack our homeland but we must stay vigilant and keep pressing them. U.S operations help to build critical Somali defence capability and counter-terrorist plots and plans,” Townsend said. “Our actions keep Somalia, the region, and the U.S. safer and more secure.”

UN agencies – UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Program (WFP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC) UN Support Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) – are scaling up their efforts to help flood-affected Somalis. The UN agencies have been sending aid filed planes to affected areas where they have distributed portable water, hygiene kits, medical supplies and foodstuffs. Additionally, 2.58 Million dollars have been raised by UNHCR for flood victims.


134 Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers completed a two months training at the UK funded military academy in Baidoa, South West regional state. The soldiers acquired skills in field-craft leadership, human rights, first-aid treatment, patrolling and the delivery of defensive operations. The UK ambassador to Somalia Ben Fender praised the soldiers for completing the training and reiterated his country’s commitment to rebuilding Somalia’s security forces.”

The Somali regional state, Puntland, executed five men found guilty of being members of ISIS and Al-Shabaab. The militants were blindfolded with their hand-tied to poles behind their back before they were shot dead with a firing squad. The men were between the ages of 19 and 39.

Somalia has been hit with devastating floods that have made hundreds of thousands Internally Displaced Persons. UN estimates that 370,000 Somalis have been displaced. The most affected town. Also, at least 25 have been killed and 47 others injured since the flooding begun at the end of October. , Beletweyne (Beledweyne) is 85% submerged in water, according to the UN.

Qatar sent 88 tons of various aid including medicine, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, gloves, water filters, iron and plastic jerricans. In addition to sending aid, the ambassador of both countries, accompanied by Somali government officials, made a state visit to the most affected town, Beletweyne (Beledweyne), which is in HirShabelle region state. The ambassadors also met with region president, Mohamed Abdi “Waare.”

The Somali government thanked both Qatar and Turkey for their efforts to help affected victims.


Head of UN mission in Somalia, while speaking to members of the National Independent Election Commission, reiterated global partners desire to back the democratic exercise during the upcoming 2020/2021. Somali elections are supposed to

The District Commissioner of Aw-Dhegle town in southern Somalia was killed with an IED planted by al-Shabaab. Aw Dhegle was recently liberated by Somali Armed Forces, with the support of African Union troops, AMISOM.

Kenyan police foiled an al-Shabaab aimed at disrupting communication services and possibly conduct a secondary IED attack in northeastern Kenya. The regional commissioner said that the militants crossed the porous Kenya-Somalia border. The militants managed only to destroy a diesel generator that powers telecommunication mast after they struck at around 1 a.m. in Diiso village.

At least eleven people were killed when al-Shabaab militants stormed into a bus travelling in northeastern Kenya. The majority of the dead were police officers going back to their duty station in El Wak, a border town with Somalia. The bus was en route from Nairobi to Mandera. Commuters on the bus told the media that the militants targeted non-Muslim passengers. Three Christians managed to escape.

Days after the attack, the police arrested the driver and one passenger of the bus as potential accomplices of the attack.


US. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, on Dec. 9. The initial assessment concluded that the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist. 

On the evening of 9 December, 5 Al-Shabaab militants stormed the Somali Youth League (SYL) hotel, a popular hangout spot for government officials and high ranking Somali National Army (SNA) officials). Unlike previous attacks, the group did not use a VBIED to kill maximum civilians then storm the building. SNA quickly killed three of the attackers. The reminder two militants took their positions at the top of the hotel. At the end of the seven-hour siege, ten people were killed – 5 attackers, 2 civilians and 3 SNA. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

US. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab terrorist in the vicinity of Dujuuma, Somalia, Dec. 16. The initial assessment concluded that the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.

Ahmed Ali Aybakar, a key al-Shabaab facilitator, sentenced to ten years in prison by the Mogadishu military court. He allegedly rented homes for the militants for them to escape detection

Al Shabaab has claimed the attack outside the Galkayo Hotel in Northern Somalia. The car bomb killed seven civilians, a local military officer said. Local media speculates that the intended target of the attack was General Abdihamid Mohamed Dirir, who was in the hotel and managed to escape the attack unharmed.


On Saturday morning, at around 8 AM, a Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosion (SVBIED) detonated at a busy checkpoint in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu. According to government records, at least 86 people were killed and 125 injured. Independent sources place the death toll to over 100. Qatar and Turkey airlifted some of the seriously injured victims of the attack to their respective countries.

A day after the attack, Al-Shabaab was forced to take responsibility following a report by the Somali intelligence community that said that the attack was conducted with the support of a foreign country. Many local Somali and Turkish media were quick to place the blame on Qatar thought there was no proof.

Al-Shabaab later claimed the attack, which was unusual for the insurgent group. They do not claim the attack that has many civilian deaths. The militant group apologised to the families that lost their loved ones and told them that the civilians who died are martyrs. The group also claimed that the attack did not kill as many civilians as the government reported. Al-Shabaab said that the attack targeted Turkish nationals who were

S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes in two (2) locations targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow and Caliyoow Barrow, Somalia, respectively, Dec. 29. The initial assessment concluded two airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists and destroyed two (2) vehicles in Qunyo Barrow; and one airstrike killed two (2) terrorists in Caliyoow Barrow.


U,S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged Somali National Army partner forces on patrol near Bacaw, Somalia, Jan. 3. At this time, it is assessed this precision airstrike killed three (3) militants.

At 5:30 AM, Al-Shabaab militants attempted to breach the parameters of the Manda Bay camp, alias Simba Camp, a shared camp with US and Kenyan troops. The militants were only managed to reach the airstrip as the US and Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) repelled the attack. The group managed to set on fire to infrastructure and equipment, including an aircraft, at the airstrip. AFRICOM announced that one US service member and two department of Defense contractors were killed in the attack. Two additional Department of Defense members were wounded but are in stable conditions.

How can you help?

  • Support refugee communities from Somalia; protest Trumps travel ban.
  • UNICEF works to help children in Somalia –
  • For more information and to help expose other crimes in Somalia visit Amnesty International –

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