Kenyan and Somali troops continue fighting al Shabaab groups that have fled to the southwest. There, the terrorists hold the village of Burdhubo, which troops are trying to surround so that they can kill or capture most of the al Shabaab men there. The heavy forests in the region make this difficult. Al Shabaab remnants continue to skirmish with peacekeepers (from Kenya, Ethiopia, and several other African nations), Somali government troops, and pro-government militias. Most of the fighting is in the southwest, southern Puntland, and around Mogadishu, Baidoa, and Kismayo. There are small groups of al Shabaab men throughout southern Somalia. Al Shabaab is nowhere near making a comeback but they are not disappearing either. The Islamic terrorists seem prepared to become bandits, live off the land, and keep at their version of holy war indefinitely.
December 4, 2012: In Italy a court convicted eleven Somalis of piracy for attacking a tanker off Somalia last January. The tanker escaped and the pirates were quickly captured by Italian marines. The eleven were sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.
December 3, 2012: Outside the port of Merca (70 kilometers south of Mogadishu) Al Shabaab terrorists used a landmine and guns to attack a convoy carrying three government ministers. Four policemen were wounded and several terrorists were killed or wounded as the attackers were driven off.
December 2, 2012: In Baidoa twenty al Shabaab captives walked out of their prison and escaped. Some of the guards were apparently bribed or threatened into assisting the breakout.
December 1, 2012: South Korean officials obtained the release of four South Korean sailors who had been captured, along with their ship, in April last year. A $6 million ransom was paid to free the ship and its 25 man crew last October. But the pirates reneged and held onto the four South Koreans, demanding an additional ransom. South Korea would not say what the additional ransom was. The pirates are doing this sort of thing more frequently and they target countries that have jailed a significant number of Somali pirates. There is usually a demand that these pirates be freed but in the end the pirates settle for more cash. The pirates are taking far fewer ships this year and several pirate gangs have disbanded because there was no money to keep operating.
November 30, 2012: In Kismayo an al Shabaab man threw a grenade at an army base, leaving one civilian dead and five wounded.
In central Somalia, near the village of Balalder, two clans (the Saleban and Duduble) fought over water access and grazing rights for their herds, leaving at least 26 men dead and over 50 wounded. Conflicts like this have long been common in Somalia.
November 28, 2012: Ethiopia said it would keep several thousand troops in central Somalia (mainly around the town of Baidoa) until there were enough AU (African Union) peacekeepers available to replace them. That might take six months or more.
November 27, 2012: Some 110 kilometers south of Mogadishu a roadside bomb wrecked an AU vehicle causing some casualties. Nearby some al Shabaab attacked an AU base and were repulsed. There were ten casualties.