Analysis of al-Shabaab

Al-Shabaab started as an equipped wing of the Islamic Court Union that later split to smaller divisions when it was defeated by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and Ethiopian army in the year 2006. The group defines itself as conducting jihad against the enemies of the Islam religion, and it is involved in battles against the government of Somalia, the Africa Union Mission to Somalia. In the year 2012, the US State Department offered a reward for the capture of some of the senior commanders of the group. The group recently began to recruit more people into their army encouraging families to send their unmarried youths to join the group to fight (Anderson, " McKnight, 2014).

Comparison of beliefs, motives, and allies with al-Qaida

While the Al-Shabaab do not have a centralized purpose as a group, al-Qaida’s primary reason was to remove the armed forces of the United States out of Somalia and Saudi Arabia by the use of force. While Al-Qaeda has strong roots and beliefs in the Islamic law, the Al-Shabaab have their Islamic law version, and they do not support the global Jihad.   The two groups have been linked to each other as the senior leaders of Al Shabaab have been linked to AL Qaeda while the members f both groups have been trained in Afghanistan (Norton, 2013).

Past actions and terrorist activities

Al-Shabaab has taken responsibility for numerous attacks in Mogadishu and other countries in Africa. They have also been responsible for the assassination of journalists, peace activists as well as international aid workers. The group attacked the United Nations base in Mogadishu in the year 2013through a suicide bomber who attacked and bombed the base. In 2010, the group attacked Kampala, the capital of Uganda killing seventy-four individuals who had been watching the world cup I a restaurant. The group has also claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in Kenya attacking different parts including police camps in Mandera, attacks and killing police at the Somali border and many other attacks since 2010.

Present areas of operation believed actions and current status

The Al-Shabaab have been perceived to operate mainly from Somalia. The headquarters of the group was based in Kismayo from the year 2008 to 2012. It was however moved to Baradei until in the year 2014 when the office was moved again. The group presently operates in East Africa in areas including Kenya, Somalia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Yemen. The members of the group have been perceived to be trained in Ethiopia before they are assigned with duties and sent to their target areas of war. The group believes in their Islamic laws, and their current operational status is active (Hansen, 2013).

Actions by Intelligence Agencies

Formerly, the group had begun using children who they trained and sent to missions. The united nations, however, pleaded for the removal of these kids in the activities of the groups. However, the intelligence services later began to use these children as spies for the government. The children helped the government to identify their former comrades. However, these measures were not effective as the identities of some children was not concealed, many of them were killed while others suffered psychologically as they attempted to commit suicide. Being used as informants for the intelligence services resulted to fear among the children and was also a form of abuse since for some children, their parents were left unaware of where their children were (Zimmerman, 2011).

Additionally, others were forced to help to point out their former comrades and were held by the authorities against their will. Other measures to protect against Alshabaab involved placing police officers on the borders of Somalia. This has also been ineffective as the group has attacked the police camps severally killing the police, therefore, acquiring more advantage. 


Anderson, D. M., " McKnight, J. (2014). Kenya at war: Al-Shabaab and its enemies in Eastern Africa. African Affairs, 114(454), 1-27.

Hansen, S. J. (2013). Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The history and ideology of a Militant Islamist group. Oxford University Press.

Norton, R. J. (2013). Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group 2005-2012. Parameters, 43(4), 145.

Zimmerman, C. (2011). Al Shabaab and the Challenges of Providing Humanitarian Assistance in Somalia. Statement before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, 8.

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