UN investigators believe that al Shabaab is still raising $2-3 million a month via extortion. This is done at temporary roadblocks or by coercing businesses to pay protection money to avoid al Shabaab attack. This cash is essential to keep the Islamic terrorist group going because many essential items cannot be stolen and must be paid for. While al Shabaab income was cut sharply with the loss of ports the goods to be shipped still must travel roads to reach the port and that’s where al Shabaab gets them. The security forces are having a hard time keeping all the roads clear of extortionists and bandits. Many businesses prefer to pay rather than fight, and this also aids al Shabaab. Getting rid of this sort of banditry is difficult since it has been part of the culture for as long as anyone can remember. Most of the time the bandits observe some rules, but groups like al Shabaab do not as they are on a Mission from God and that calls for all sorts of thing most Somalis would rather not endure.
In Kenya the government is having a hard time with Somalis and Kenyans who are ethnic Somalis. These two groups are waging a terror campaign against the government to force Kenya to withdraw peacekeepers from Somalia and, in effect, surrender control of portions of northern Somalia where Somali refugees have been housed. The Somalis also want the government to back off on interfering with illegal activities by Somalis in the coastal cities. These demands (some of them implied) are political suicide for any politician who gives in but there are some politicians who are leaning towards some form of surrender. This is not the first time Somalis have waged a terror campaign to get their way with the Kenyan tribes. The British colonial government put an end to centuries of this in the 19th century. But the Kenyans remember and most do not want to return the pre-colonial way of doing things, no matter how much the Somalis demand it.
July 8, 2014: In Mogadishu nine al Shabaab men attacked the presidential compound. This started with a car bomb going off at the entrance and then at least nine armed men got inside. Within two hours the attackers were killed. Apparently eight of those who got inside wore explosive vests which they all detonated. The president was not at the compound when the attack took place and other senior officials who were got out safely. This was the second al Shabaab attack on the presidential palace this year and the first one where attackers got inside the compound. These attacks are mainly for propaganda purposes, with al Shabaab using its few remaining suicide attackers to gain maximum attention in order to assist fund raising and recruiting.
July 7, 2014: In the north (Puntland) two foreign (from Britain and France) UN employees were shot dead by a man in a police uniform. It’s unclear who was responsible for the murder although the fact that the two victims worked for an anti-drug project indicates it may have been a drug gang,
July 5, 2014: In Mogadishu a car bomb went off near the parliament compound, killing four people. On the north Kenyan coast al Shabaab raided two towns and killed 29 people.
July 4, 2014: In the southeast (lower Shabelle region) al Shabaab gunmen were repulsed when they attacked peacekeepers and Somali soldiers. Several of the attackers were killed.
July 3, 2014: In Mogadishu al Shabaab gunmen shot dead a member of parliament and his bodyguard as the victim left his hotel.
July 2, 2014: The U.S. has admitted that it has had personnel in Somalia since 2007 and that currently there are 120 Americans in Somalia. This was no secret as it has been known for years that there was an American compound in Somalia and occasionally there were reports of American Special Forces or CIA personnel carrying out intelligence missions. The U.S. would never admit there were American operatives stationed in Somalia but would acknowledge the occasional military action.
July 1, 2014: In Mogadishu al Shabaab gunmen ambushed an army patrol, killed three soldiers and then fled. This was the fourth such attack since Ramadan began on June 28th.
June 30, 2014: In Mogadishu al Shabaab used a remotely controlled bomb to kill two people.
China is reopening its Somali embassy. This facility was closed in 1991 after the government fell and nothing replaced it.
June 29, 2014: In Mogadishu al Shabaab gunmen killed two policemen and a soldier in two attacks.
June 28, 2014: Today begins the month-long Ramadan period when all Moslems are obliged to fast and pray. Al Shabaab promised more attacks during Ramadan, which is typical of Islamic terrorist organizations.
June 27, 2014: In central Somalia (Beledweyne) al Shabaab attacked a military base but were repulsed by the soldiers and peacekeepers.
June 26, 2014: In south-central Somalia (Hiran) al Shabaab attacked a hotel used by peacekeepers and killed two Djibouti soldiers. Four of the attackers died before the rest fled.
June 24, 2014: Without giving many details Kenya reported that its warplanes had recently carried out attacks on two al Shabaab bases and killed at least 80 people.
June 23, 2014: In northern Kenya (Mpeketoni) al Shabaab gunmen killed five people.
June 22, 2014: In northern Kenya (Tarbaj) at least twenty died as two Kenyan clans (Degodia and Garre) fought near the Somali border. This battle was over land use and cattle stealing. This violence has killed at least 80 people since May and the security forces have been unable to halt it. Over 75,000 people have fled their homes to avoid the many raids each side is carrying out.
June 21, 2014: In Mogadishu a local journalist was killed by a bomb planted in his car. Al Shabaab is believed responsible as the Islamic terrorists regularly attack or intimidate journalists who do not support Islamic terrorism.
June 18, 2014: In Mogadishu a bomb planted in a doctor’s car went off killing one person. This took place outside a hospital run by a foreign aid group. It is unclear who was responsible.
June 17, 2014: In Kenya al Shabaab gunman attacked the coastal village of Poromoko killing fifteen members of the security forces before fleeing. This came two days after three vehicles full of al Shabaab gunmen attacked the nearby coastal town of Mpeketoni. Several resort hotels were set on fire. The gunmen also attacked a police station but were repulsed. Most of the dead were civilians who were on the street or in crowded cafes watching the World Cup. Total dead were about fifty. The Kenyan government caused some confusion by blaming these two attacks on political rivals of the president. But witnesses heard the attackers yelling in Somali as they shot down people. Al Shabaab also publicly took credit for the two attacks.