What Is Al-shabab? Everything You Need To Know Explained

2nd April 2015 By ,   1 Comments

Al-Shabab = “The Youth” in Arabic also go by Al-Shabaab

Who or what is Al-Shabab?

Al-Shabab = “The Youth” in Arabic also go by Al-Shabaab

Where they come from: Somalia, East Africa.

Who are they: a militant Islamist group with links to Al-Queda in the Middle East and Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Size: Unknown – thought to be near 9,000 people, including child soldiers.

What do they want: To turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state. (Fundamentalism = extreme view usually religious and intolerant of other beliefs).

Why they are in the news?

At 5AM this morning Al-Shabab stormed a university in Garissa, Kenya (right next to Somalia) and killed at least 15 people. Around 500 people are unaccounted for right now and 65 have been wounded.

Hostages have been taken, but only Christians are being held – with Muslims being released, according to a statement by Al-Shabab.

They’ve got form: Previous attacks by Al-Shabab have similarly left Muslims unharmed, killing those who can’t recite verses from the Qur’an.

The worst violence from Al-Shabab occurred in 2013, where fighters stormed the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi (Kenyan capital) and killed 67 people.

How did we get to this?

Somalia had been without a government since 1991 when its dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown by warring rival clans.

In the next decade Somalia was ravaged by a civil war between different clan warlords, all wanting control of the country.

Somalia Map States Regions Districts

Somalia map states regions districts

In 2003, over in nearby Kenya, a transitional Somali government was formed – with the support of other countries and functioned in exile. In 2005 they returned to Somalia to attempt to restore order.

Al-Shabab started out as a youth member of the Union of Islamic Courts. The Union created itself as an alternative Islamic government in 2006. They took control of South Somalia but were forced out into hiding when an army from Ethiopia stepped in to help the new Somali government.

In 2007 Al-Shabab were further beaten back by this new Somali government with a little help from U.S. air strikes. They didn’t give up that easily however, and re-took control of southern Somalia in 2008 by force. Then in 2011 the Kenyan army stepped up to help and Al-Shabab lost their last urban stronghold in 2012.

Since 2012 the new Somali government has been installed officially in Somalia with the support of the international community. Al-Shabab has made frequent attacks since then in Somalia and in Kenya.

What’s being done?

The UK and Australia had this week issued terror alerts for the area where the university is situated.

Kenyan soldiers are now engaged in a gunfight with Al-Shabab.

The president of Kenya has ordered urgent steps to increase the number of police being trained to combat situations like this. A bounty of $53,000 (£36,000) has been put on the head of Mohamed Kuno, a high up Al-Shabab leader, who’s thought to have come up with the plan for the attack.

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1 Comment:

  1. […] 1. Yesterday Al-Shabab stormed a university in Garissa, Kenya (right next to Somalia) and killed at least 147 people. The militant group were also the ones responsible for the attacks on Westgate shopping mall in 2013, killing 67 people. Well, this is clearly bigger. Al-Shabab says it attacked the university because it is at war with Kenya. More on this and who Al-Shabab are: here. […]

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