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  • In April 2015, Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab shot and killed 148 students at a Kenyan university.

  • It’s the worst terrorist attack in Kenya since 1998. For the last several years, the

  • US and other supporting governments have targeted Al-Shabaab, with Kenya recently launching

  • air raids against the group’s bases. So, where exactly did Al-Shabaab come from, and

  • how strong are they now?

  • Well, back in 2006, the transitional government of Somalia was in the middle of a civil war

  • against the rapidly expanding Islamic Courts Union, which controlled much of southern Somalia.

  • US backed Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia and eventually took back Somalia’s capital,

  • Mogadishu, from the ICU. Following the ICU’s loss, militant hardliners split off and continued

  • their war against the invasive Ethiopian military.

  • This Islamic insurgency is now known as al-Shabaab. Most notably, theyve recruited a number

  • of foreign jihadists, including at least 40 Muslim Americans. By 2009, they had retaken

  • Mogadishu, and claimed responsibility for a number of deadly bombings, in particular

  • targeting Christians. By mid-2011 though, al-Shabaab forces fled Mogadishu, and a taskforce

  • of Kenyan, Somali, and Ethiopian military troops began a campaign to wipe out the insurgent

  • group.

  • In 2012, with between 7000 and 9000 members, al-Shabaab pledged their allegiance to al-Qaeda.

  • However, a number of sources, including an ex-al-Shabaab American recruit, note that

  • unlike al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab’s ambitions lie in dominating the region rather than aligning

  • themselves with all out global jihad. This split has lead to a weakened alliance and

  • infighting. In 2014, a joint military operation comprised of the Somali and African Union

  • forces, as well as the US, began launching air strikes and local attacks to reclaim insurgent-held

  • territory. Over the past few months, numerous Al-Shabaab leaders have been killed, most

  • of southern Somalia has been retaken, and at least 700 militants have defected to the

  • Somali government.

  • Some have pointed to the recent attack in Kenya as a sign of the group’s desperation

  • and weakness. Unable to attack military targets, theyve instead turned to killing innocent

  • civilians. The Council on Foreign Relations has said that currently, the group is at its

  • weakest point in years, and as US Somali forces continue their military campaign, al-Shabab

  • is running out of places to hide.

  • Boko Haram, another violent jihadist group is still causing extreme conflict on the other

  • side of the African continent. To learn how this group grew from a small motorcycle gang,

  • check out our video here. Please subscribe, and thanks for watching TestTube!

In April 2015, Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab shot and killed 148 students at a Kenyan university.

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