Somalia: The Revenge Of The Bandits

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May 4, 2012: With nations providing foreign aid demanding less corruption (stealing aid), there is an ongoing war between corrupt groups and Somalis who seek to reduce the theft and terrorism. This, as has happened in many other places, results in attacks on anti-corruption journalists and leaders. This usually starts with threats and intimidation and eventually escalates to murder. So far this year at least five Somali journalists (often radio reporters, who are crucial in a nation where most people are illiterate) have been murdered. Many more have changed their tune, only reporting things that will not result in death threats. Some have fled Somalia. More government and clan leaders have died as al Shabaab, as well as pro-corruption factions, goes after anyone who opposes them.  

During the last few days Sufi militiamen have again been fighting al Shabaab gunmen in central Somalia. In the eight months since the Sufi Ahlu Suna Waljama militias declared all-out war against al Shabaab, al Shabaab has lost control of most key towns they held in central Somalia. Sufis are believers in a more mystical and peaceful form of Islam and are looked down on by many radical Sunni groups. But the Somali Sufis got tired of being harassed by al Shabaab and armed and organized themselves for defense over the last three years. Two years ago the Sufi militias became allies with the TNG (Transitional National Government) and Ethiopia, which keeps lots of troops on their Somali border, occasionally crossing into Somalia in order to discourage al Shabaab from raiding into Ethiopia.  The fighting has, in the last two years, driven over 150,000 people into Ethiopia, where refugee camps have been set up.

Al Shabaab is being hammered on several fronts (TNG, AU peacekeepers, Sufi militias, Ethiopian troops, and Kenyans on the Kenyan border). Because of the constant attacks and losses the Islamic terror group is breaking up into factions that are often not supporting each other. On the downside Somali bandit groups are more active, for al Shabaab did keep these gangs on the run. Groups of gunmen temporarily forming bandit gangs has long been a feature of Somali life and the cause of never-ending feuds between clans.

May 3, 2012: In the south Kenyan troops attacked an al Shabaab base.  There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in southernmost Somalia, along with several thousand pro-Kenyan militiamen. Most of the Kenyan troops are working on protecting roads and Kenyan bases from Somali attacks.

May 1, 2012: Al Shabaab bombs killed two in Mogadishu. In central Somalia a car bomb killed six, including two members of the TNG parliament.

April 28, 2012: In Mogadishu three al Shabaab attacks left seven civilians dead. These attacks were by small groups of gunmen, two on peacekeeper checkpoints and one on a movie theater.

In Kenya an al Shabaab supporter set off a grenade outside a church, killing one civilian.

April 27, 2012: In Puntland a South African security advisor was killed by his bodyguard. 

 

 

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