Key facts about the militant group from Somalia that attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Here are 10 things to know about al-Shabab, the Somali Islamic extremist group that has claimed responsibility for the attack on Kenya’s premier shopping mall that killed dozens of civilians.


Al-Shabab is an extremist Islamic terrorist force that grew out of the anarchy that crippled Somalia after warlords ousted a longtime dictator in 1991. Its name means “The Youth” in Arabic, and it was a splinter youth wing of a weak Islamic Courts Union government created in 2006 to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the East African nation. Al-Shabab is estimated to have several thousand fighters, including a few hundred foreign fighters. Some of the insurgents’ foreign fighters are from the Middle East with experience in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Others are young, raw recruits from Somali communities in the United States and Europe. U.S. officials have expressed fears that extremists fleeing Afghanistan and Pakistan could seek refuge in Somalia.


Al-Shabab won control of almost all of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in 2006, and held large swathes of central and southern Somalia until a United Nations-backed force from the African Union, including soldiers from neighboring Kenya and Uganda, pushed the extremists out of the city in 2011 and out of the vital port of Kismayo in 2012. The rebels still control many rural areas in Somalia where it imposes strict Shariah law, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of accused thieves. In addition, it has staged deadly suicide- bomb attacks on Mogadishu and Kismayo.


No one knows for sure, but al-Shabab is believed to command thousands of fighters including hundreds of foreigners.


Al-Shabab has warned for two years that it will attack Kenya in retaliation for the country’s leading role in sending troops to Somalia in 2011 and effectively reducing the extremist group’s power in Somalia. Al-Shabab also claimed responsibility for the July 2010 suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, that killed more than 70 people watching a World Cup final soccer match at a restaurant popular among foreigners. Ugandan troops also are fighting in the African force in Somalia.

The group has staged ongoing major attacks within Somalia for years.


Al-Shabab and al-Qaida in February 2012 announced their alliance, with al-Shabab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair pledging allegiance to the global terror movement. Al-Qaida’s 2002 attacks on an Israeli-owned Kenyan resort in Mombasa and an attempted attack on a plane carrying Israeli tourists are believed to have been planned by an al-Qaida cell in Somalia. U.S. officials believe some of the al-Qaida terrorists who bombed the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 were given refuge in Somalia.


Before African troops moved in, al-Shabab was making a steady income from duties and fees levied at ports and airports as well as extorting taxes on domestic produce and demanding “jihadi” contributions. A United Nations report estimated al-Shabab’s income in 2011 at between $70 million and $100 million. It has lost most of that revenue since it was forced out of Mogadishu and Kismayo. Al-Shabab’s only ally in Africa is Eritrea — which backs it to counter its enemy Ethiopia, which also has troops in Somalia. Eritrea denies charges that it helps arm al-Shabab.


Al-Shabab is believed to have fractured over its alliance with al-Qaida, which caused a rift that has grown between core Shabab fighters who believe their struggle should focus on Somalia, and growing tensions with foreign fighters who want to plot a regional terrorist strategy. Analysts think the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall could indicate the extremists are winning that internal struggle. Further divisions are believed to have been caused by the group’s decision to ban foreign-aid organizations from operating in the country and providing food to save millions of victims of conflict-induced famine. That decision was announced in 2011, when the U.N. said Somalia had the world’s highest child-mortality rate.


The United States backed the first African intervention against al-Shabab, supporting Ethiopian troops that invaded in 2006. Washington has given millions of dollars to support the U.N.-backed African force fighting al-Shabab, which it designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2008. The intervention from Ethiopia, a longtime enemy of Somalia, is considered to have radicalized al-Shabab and perhaps pushed it into the arms of al-Qaida, according to the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Al-Shabab is inspired by the Saudi Arabian Wahhabi version of Islam though most Somalis belong to the more moderate Sufi strain. While they initially won popularity with Somalis by promising security and stability after years of lawlessness and violence, al-Shabab’s destruction of Sufi shrines has cost them much support among locals.


Somalia’s first elected government in more than two decades won power a year ago and, together with the African Union force, has the opportunity to create “a window of opportunity to fundamentally change Somalia’s trajectory,” according to the U.S. State Department. Business is growing and even foreign oil companies are negotiating concessions at the most hopeful moment in decades for that failed state.

Source: The Associated Press


  1. 11: They are funded by Somaliland and Dahabshiil so they can ruin Mogadishu and help them with there claim of being an independent country

  2. 1. They hate Women
    2. They hate Peace
    3. They are a bunch of animals and they have nothing to do with Islam
    4 They are cowards
    5. They scream like girls
    6 They have they the date rape drugs
    7. They are cross dressers
    8. They are against development and reconstruction
    9. They have no brains
    10. They came from bad homes and Alshabab was established by Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed may he rot in hell and his majatertan tribe. ALshabab is made by darods and Ahmed Madobe is the chief leader.

    • Abdullahi Yusuf and daroods are the reason Somalia has a flag a government and rich history that they can be proud.
      Please tell me one thing that you isaaqs did for Somalia so dont just open your mouth talk with knowledge and facts your people are the head of Alshabab and its not a secret that Dahabshiil supporting it.
      Daroods and Hawiye are for the good isaaqs are for the bad and division.

      • Shut the hell up and show some respect on our website you have and your boyfriend Dahir have no right to be angry on this website and call my tribe terriotis and abdullahi Yusuf destroyed Somalia.

    • You need to go to the mental hospital and get a medication, I am not going to disrespect any tribe since I am not a tribalist, but the truth matters and one should either write good thing facts or shut his or her mouth. first of all it is against any culture to disrespect the dead so leave Abdullahi Yusuf since he is no longer in the world plus did you forget that Ahmed Godane belongs to your branch? Shabaab fighters belong to any Somali caln and it sure doesn't matter bc anyone amongst them is a terrorist.

      • You and your mother need to go a mental hospital yourselves and get lost and I have disrespect your supreme leader and I get insulted, real mature Dahir asshole.

      • You have no respect human life and you are happy what happened in Kenya you sick son of a biiitch.
        I will report you to Interpol and have you arrested.

      • RIP General Aided, President Mohamed Ibrahim Haji Egal, and President Abdirahiman tuur those were real Somali leaders.

  3. here are just a few

    Pedophilia in the Quran or how mohammed justified sexual relations with a 9 year old aisha, dont take my word for it look up the hadiths mentioned in your local Islamic book store.

    How Mohammed and the Quran think women are deficient in Intelligence: Hence their hatred of women or thoughts on women being second class citizens. Again, dont take my word for it look up the hadiths that are quoted at your local Islamic Bookstore I dare you!

    Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
    Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle ?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion."
    Sahih Bukhari 1:6:301

    Within the Quran Qur'an 2:282 Look it up, its too long to post here.

    Lists of killings ordered or supported by Mohammed

    Rape in Islam: Again look up the verses and hadith at your local Islamic bookstore dont take my word for it.

    Slavery in Islam:

    Again dont take my word for it look up systematically all the hadiths and verses I mention.

    I wonder where they get it from?

    • Anything prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said or did we follow, because he was inspired by God. God inspired him to take us to the correct path that will lead us to heaven.

      I wonder what your faith is. Since you are disrespecting Muslim beliefs, share with us what you believe.

      • No he's a cockroach with no evidence on any of the slanderous statements that spews out of the poisonous mind