Militants attacked a beachfront restaurant in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu (AP), killing more than twenty people after a gun battle with government forces. The Al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility. The assault comes a week after the militant group attacked Kenyan peacekeepers (BBC) in southwestern Somalia, killing more than one hundred Kenyan troops. Despite being pushed out of the country's major cities by African Union forces, the group continues to launch attacks across the country (Al Jazeera), targeting peacekeeping troops, government officials, and foreigners.
“Al-Shabaab no longer poses the existential threat to Somalia’s governing authorities in Mogadishu that it once did, in its 'golden age' during 2009-10, when it controlled not only most of the capital city but also most of south-central Somalia. Most of al-Shabaab’s fighters were forced out of Mogadishu in August 2011; today they do not directly govern nearly as many towns across south-central Somalia,” writes Paul D. Williams for the Washington Post.
“Since 2011, al Shabaab has been pushed out of nearly all of Somalia’s major towns, including all the ports it once controlled. But while the terror group has been degraded, the authority of the Federal Government does not extend much outside the towns and al Shabaab is still able to operate freely in much of rural south Somalia. Further, as the El Adde attack demonstrates, the Somali forces are far from ready to take on al Shabaab,” writes Patrick Gathara for the Star.
“Progress may be behind schedule, but such transformations cannot be engineered from the outside, and they cannot be achieved overnight. The UN has lent significant political and technical support to these processes and in 2014, a new and emerging federal member state was established in Baidoa, known as the Interim South West Administration, while a process for the central regions was launched,” writes Nicholas Kay for Al Jazeera.
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