Shebab, the Al Qaeda linked group although weakened by infighting and loss of territory in Somalia is still a threat and it remains to be seen whether they are still a Somali insurgent group or have become more of a terrorist group

Nairobi: The massacre at a Kenyan shopping mall by Somalia’s Shebab insurgents has shown the still potent threat of the al-Qaeda-linked group even as fighters struggle at home, analysts say. The attack, which follows bloody strikes by Shebab suicide commandos earlier this year, including against

 An United Nations base in the Somali capital Mogadishu, comes in spite of the group losing a string of key towns in Somalia to African Union troops and bitter infighting.

Dramatic attacks such as Saturday’s brutal siege in Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre can be seen as an attempt to bolster their struggling reputation and loss of territory at home, experts say.

“Paradoxically, a weakened Shebab is a greater threat outside Somalia than a stronger Shebab,” wrote Ken Menkhaus, professor at Davidson College in the US state of North Carolina, in an article following the attack.

He noted that he had previously argued that “were the group to weaken and fragment, it would be more likely to consider high-risk terrorism abroad.”

Shebab chief Ahmed Godane, who the US have offered $7 million for, is seeking to strengthen his authoritarian control following bloody purges of former comrades after they complained to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri about his command.

“The group has been going through its own internal struggles over its leadership and direction,” said J. Peter Pham, who heads the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

“The question now is whether, having marginalised rivals and turned Shebab into more of a terrorist group and less of a Somali insurgency, Godane will transform it into a more regional threat.”

Before Westgate, the group’s last large scale attack outside Somalia was its 2010 bombing of the Ugandan capital Kampala, in which at least 76 died.

In recent years, the extremist group has instead struggled inside Somalia, tied down battling regional armies such as Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as the African Union force (AMISOM).

Shebab fighters fled fixed positions in the capital Mogadishu, and have since lost almost all its towns to AMISOM forces.

“The Westgate attack is the latest sign of the group’s weakness. It was a desperate, high-risk gamble by Shebab to reverse its prospects,” Menkhaus argued.

The major attack on Nairobi comes almost two years after Kenya rolled troops and tanks across the border to fight the Islamists on their home ground in southern Somalia, seizing the Shebab’s former bastion port of Kismayo.

Since then the Shebab have multiplied their warnings of revenge attacks on Kenyan soil, but until now were on a relatively small scale, at least in the capital.

“The group is just now recovering its elan from the loss of territorial dominance it formerly enjoyed before the AMISOM and Kenyan-led offensives of 2011 and 2012,” Pham added.

Still, Shebab fighters control swathes of rural southern Somalia, while UN Monitoring Group reports in July estimated the Shebab are still some 5,000 strong, and remain the “principal threat to peace and security in Somalia”.

Their threat, as the well-planned attack in Nairobi showed, should not be underestimated.

In June, the Shebab showed their strength with a brazen daylight attack on a fortified United Nations compound in Mogadishu, with a seven-man suicide commando blasting into the complex and starting a gun battle to the death.

The coordinated attack on the UN killed 11, tactics already tried in April when they attacked a Mogadishu court house.

Stig Jarle Hansen, a Norwegian academic and author of Al-Shebab in Somalia, warns that Saturday’s attack — as well as the UN and courthouse attacks in Mogadishu – bore similarities to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

“By making the attack so visible it will hit Kenya where it hurts the most by hitting the tourism sector. I think it very likely that this was calculated. Travel warnings might be issued by western countries as well,” said.

“Kenya managed to survive the financial crisis quite well but this will hit them.”

 Source: Al Jezeera



  1. Al shabaab sympathisers who are Isaaq and Hawiya clan are responsible for the attack on the Nairobi shopping centre. Godane is the Amir, leader of Al shabaab he s from the Arab sub-clan of the Isaaq clan in northern Somalia.

    Puntland has already issued a warrant for Godane who is hiding somewhere between Hargeisa and Burco to have him arrested and to be tortured to death but Puntland cannot go in alone since Puntland is in disparate need of weapons.

    Puntland Armed forces need artillery weapons, battle tanks, F-16 fighter aircraft, unrivalled missile, RPG7 bazooka, Katyushka rocket, Typhoon Nuke Sub, AK47 Rifle etc.

    The aim is first to liberate las anod from the SNM cockroaches which are closely linked to the jihadist group of al-Shabaab then after that it will be easier for Puntland Armed forces to move to Burco which will open the highway to Hargeisa.

    The CIA major partner is Puntland let us wage an all out against terrorism and the SNM cockroaches.

    • Amigo, do you not know how laangaab mjs are?! Looool your talking about puntland waging war against all of I/saaqs.. We'll send a subclan of h/yunis and they'll wipe you out in mere hours.. Just be happy were looking for recognition and not war :).. It's gonna bea scary sight the day reer waqooyi decide its war time

    • MJ are wellknown only how to hijack boat from poor white people and not for their figthing capacity. Please for u own safety stay in ur 2 dirty village and carry on to entertain Somalis thanks to ur taxi driver leader. Kkk

    • @PIS,
      You sure have a strong dirty theory, but with all that you said, still mother nature ways remain
      unpredictably difficult to dictate in human terms. For example, for any big wrong doing to
      mankind by mankind, look how natural calamities respond allover the global village.

  2. Bullshiit Hawiya and Isaq are not responsible for the attacks and they are not territosts. You and Mahamed Cheers, dahir, observer don't think Darod is alshabab. Darod is alshabab and it's suspicious that Hargeisa and Mogadishu were the victims of alashababs but I never heard of garowe being attacked nor bososo nor galakyco so It brings my attention that darod is alshabab and Abdullahi Yusuf established it. Ahmed Madobe is the ring lander and he is really happy about this tragedy.

    • @Omar
      You are not very bright are you?
      Why don't you look at the leadership of al Shaythan it is led by non other than your isaaq cousin and Hargaysa native Godane, most of its leadership comes from Isaaq, Hawiye, and D&M clans . They have attacked PL many times but not to the extent of Xamar attacks because PL security apparatus is very effective against these demons.
      My goodness you isaaqs are so desperate to blame everything on Daroods even things that are well known to have been committed by non Daroods. LOL
      They think by blaming everything on Daroods will give then recognition.

      • Well are you retarded it is darods how are the mastermind you autistic fuuck Guhad what kind of moron would his kid gohad.

        • Al-Shabab was established in Puntland and the world knows that in 1993 The first somali Islamic militia group was setup in Bossasso. Their Primary arms importer was Sheik Atom who until 2009 smuggled Arms from Yemen to Bossasso. The likes of Fuad Shangoole was among the founding members another Top Sheik was Abdulkadir Nur Farah was assassinated in 2013 by his own students in Gerowe, Sh.Dr axmed Xaaji Cabdiraxmaan was assassinated by his disciples in Bossasso 2012, Sheik Ibrahim another founding member was assassinated in Galkaciyo 2011.

          90% of the Founding members of all Terrorists are from puntland just the same way 100% of Pirate king pins was from puntland.

          To stop Terrorism in the Horn Sanctions must be placed on Puntland it is that simple. It took the navies from 7 countries to suppress the piracy of puntland and the same must be done on land to prevent any and all human traffic in and out of puntland.

          The added bonus will be 75% all horn of Africa people smuggling will also cease if Puntland is isolated and sanctioned.

  3. I tell you what Alshabab and Wal sunna wajama are like bloods and crips that they have a grude against each other.

  4. @Omar

    Are You kidding me? Godane has attacked Puntland thousands of times in fact Al-Shabaab is more active in outskirts of Bossaso the Al shabaab militants are hiding out in the Golis Mountains they are funded and armed by the SNM fugitives cockroaches holed up in Hargeisa.

    I know the hawiya feel perennially victimised and I understand the reason because Al shabaab only attacks Mogadishu but the people of Hawiye must learn a lesson from the Majerteen clan they must shot Al shabaab terrorists suspects on the spot there is no point taking them into rehabilitation units.

    Puntland executed 9 al shabaab terrorists included one young girl who was in tears they were all tied behind a tree and shot in the head, face, chest you name it.

    • @PIS,
      What is the difference between Alshababa militants and renegade Puntland Pirates?
      Aint they both terrorists???

  5. Asalamu Alaikum,

    Subhan'Allah I cannot begin to describe the filth that I am reading in the comments section. When are you guys going to understand that the world doesn't care about your tribe, they only see somali. This a somali issue not only a Darod, Isaaq nor Hawiya one. Whether you we like it or not we must come to a unified conclusion that the adversary we face is an internal afflicting us all and only a united resolution can achieve success throughout.

    P.S. Shame on somalilandpress (including other somali news websites) for allowing such reoccurring hate to be spread on the comments sections by the some of the same people all the time.

    PuntlandGeezer (PIS) walal being Isaaq I used to be very offended by your comments in the past as you generalize people of my clan and ridiculed us (not saying others have not towards darood or Hawiye), but as I have matured as person I understand why you might hold this position. I love you for the sake of Allah and hope IN SHA ALLAH we can go for cup of coffee and discuss matters of interest


    • @The Honest Somali

      Thank you sxb for your kind words I am not a hypocrite I don't generalize Isaaq people negatively I might have just done it for a laugh just to annoyed those Isaaq separatists camp.

      I know Isaaq people have suffered extreme oppression at the hands of mohamed siad barre but who hasn't? we all suffer one way or another at the hands of mohamed siad barre, the warlords or the islamist but that doesn't give the Isaaq clan the excuse to divide somalia we should never ever go back to a colonial borders which was meant to weaken and divide the Somali people.
      Isaaq can be good people, just misguided at times by SNM and their backers the Ethiopian. Isaaq must know we love them they are after all our dear Somali brothers and sisters.

      inshallah we should aimed to restore a GREAT UNITED AND STRONG SOMALI STATE.

      • Somali soldier of Djibouti protect Zoomalia under Amison uniform and u still dare to talk about BS somalinimo unity. Shame on u hyporcrit. No more pirates faqash and walanweyn half bantus.

        • How dare you call zoomalia they are our neighbours you darod moroon and you half Jamaican and faqash pirate territosts doesn't know what you are talking about hornie.

  6. Your point is kind of well written to say the least, But you aren’t fooling anyone. The idea of a one unified somali nation has been tried & tested and it has FAILED so move on.

  7. Alshabab scum are funded by the pirate money taken by darood scum. That is the only explanation and the reason why al kabab have not attacked the dirty twin villages of bussysaso and garowe.

    darood clan seems to be behind every terrorist attack