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Africa

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By William Tucker

On May 28th, an explosion destroyed part of a shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya. Initially, local police believed the explosion was the result of an electrical fault, however later analysis showed that the explosion was a result of a deliberate attack. Kenyan police honed in on four suspects after the bombing and began circulating photos of the individual suspects. Today, police in Tanzania stated that they had a suspect in custody.

By William Tucker

In an interesting and underreported development, troops under the command of the African Union have moved to the outskirts of Afgoye. The city of Afgoye is just a few miles outside of the capital Mogadishu and has been under al-Shabaab control for years. If al-Shabaab loses control of Afgoye the militant group will likely lose access to much of south Somalia.

By William Tucker

Naval forces of the EU have followed up on an earlier policy change that allowed them to attack ground based assets belonging to Somali pirates. The raid took place near the Somali city of Haradhere and focused mainly on destroying fast attack craft and other pirate assets in the immediate area. According to reports, the raid was carried out by helicopter transports from two nearby naval vessels.

By William Tucker

The counterinsurgency efforts run by the African Union and the Somali TFG have finally begun to have an impact on al-Shabaab’s ability to operate in Somalia. Al-Shabaab has been forced to rely on terrorist attacks against targets in Mogadishu as forces operating under the AU, or independently such as Kenya and Ethiopia, have forced the group from several of its strongholds in southern and central Somalia.

By William Tucker

“If you look at last year, 30 ships and up to 700 hostages were held – today that is eight [ships] and around 200 [hostages].” – Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, the operation commander for the EU Naval Force in Somalia

In an aggressive change of tactics, the EU has approved its counter-piracy contingent in the Indian Ocean to engage Somali pirates on land.

By William Tucker

Geopolitically speaking, there are certain areas around the globe that are prone to conflict. While it is true that conflict of any kind is ongoing, there is a short list of competing nation-state actors that gather more attention than other conflict prone areas. The reason being is that these competitions that are under wider scrutiny have a habit of turning into something more catastrophic.

By William Tucker

In October of 2011, the U.S. deployed 100 Special Forces soldiers to Uganda for training local forces in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army. Today, AFRICOM stated that U.S. forces are now working against the LRA in Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Congo. There was no word on whether the troop level was increased to facilitate this expansion of operations, however.

By William Tucker

The Somali militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a car bombing at the Hotel Muna in Mogadishu on Wednesday. Local officials told the media that 15 people were killed in the blast and further 20 were wounded. Hotel Muna is popular with Somali politicians and was the target of another attack in 2010.

By William Tucker

When Kenyan forces invaded southern Somalia several months ago, the stated goal was to create a buffer to prevent al-Shabaab’s forces from launching attacks against Nairobi. Al-Shabaab, however, continues to threaten Kenya. In one statement an al-Shabaab spokesman threatened to knock down skyscrapers in Nairobi. Al-Shabaab does have the capability to carry out attacks beyond Somalia, but the scale would be much smaller than toppling large buildings.