Africa AMU Homeland Security Intelligence Opinion

Al-Shabaab Shows it can Still Strike Mogadishu

By William Tucker

Although the Somali militant group al-Shabaab left Mogdishu it still retains that ability to launch an attack on the capital. Yesterday, a massive vehicle borne improvised explosive device detonated outside the Education Ministry killing at least 70. The area that was targeted houses many government buildings, any of which could have been targeted, but it was the Education Ministry that had a large line of people applying for scholarships to study in Turkey that took the brunt of the attack. These unfortunate people made up the majority of the killed and inured in the attack, while all the government ministers were unharmed.

Al-Shabaab withdrew it people from Mogadishu in August because the famine in Somalia was having a heavy impact in areas under militant control. Tribal chiefs had asked the group to return its fighters to their families to help deal with the crisis. The more international jihadist arm of al-Shabaab is using the lull in the fighting to launch terrorist attacks as a way of maintaining pressure on the transitional government. While the majority of al-Shabaab militants may be handling other issues in the south of Somalia it is likely that the group with rely on terrorism until the famine crisis subsides.

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