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Somalia

By William Tucker

Militants belonging to al-Shabaab struck the UN compound in Mogadishu today killing 15 people. The attackers used a suicide bomber to take out the compounds gate which then allowed several gunman to enter the facility. Somali government and African Union forces engaged the attackers and brought the assault to an end after an hour.

By William Tucker A spokesman for the Kenyan military stated that the navy had struck al-Shabaab positions in the Somali port city of Kismayo yesterday in anticipation of a wider assault. Kenya, along with Eithiopia and the African Union, have been engaged in an offensive against the al-Qaeda affiliated militant group for some time. While the loose coalition has made gains it has been slow going due to weather.
By William Tucker Last week the U.S. Treasury Department designated six individuals for supporting the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. Among the six are two Eritrean intelligence officials who have a long track record of supporting terrorist movements in the horn of Africa. In the past, Asmara has steadfastly denied any accusation of supporting terrorism in general and al-Shabaab in particular.
By William Tucker British officials have stated that a man of Somali origin broke an order issued by the UK’s Home Office barring him from visiting the Olympic Park. According to reports, the suspect broke the order on five separate occasions. Officials speaking with the media claim the suspect trained with late al-Qaeda operative Saleh Nabhan in Somalia until Nabhan’s death in 2009 at the hands of the U.S.
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.