Al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa “still maintained control over large portions of the country” and “retained the ability to carry out high-profile attacks” in 2017 despite increased targeting by the US military, the African Union, and the Somali government.
US Africa Command targeted a Shabaab fighting position outside of Mogadishu after the al Qaeda branch attacked US and Somali forces operating in the area.
Today’s suicide bombing on a district headquarters in Mogadishu comes only a week after a similar attack on another district headquarters in the Somali capital.
Shabaab has managed to launch 418 attacks of different types during the six-month timeframe in support of its persistent and ongoing insurgency against Somalia’s weak central government and allied African Union forces.
The United States has conducted 21 strikes against Shabaab in Somalia so far this year, meaning it is on track to meet or exceed last year’s record high.
The strike is the second against Shabaab, which is al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, in Somalia that has been reported by U.S. Africa Command this month.
Shabaab continues to claim deadly attacks on Kenyan Defense Forces inside Kenya despite military operations against it.
AFRICOM noted that Shabaab, which is al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, continues to maintain “training camps” and “safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.”