Beza Tesfaye

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Hundreds of al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area south of Mogadishu, Somalia, in 2011. (AP)

Somalia’s capital has been rocked by multiple bomb attacks in the past few months, and a May 6 blast in a border town killed seven Kenyan soldiers. In recent months, a series of bombings left dozens dead or injured.

Most analysts believe that al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-backed extremist group that has waged an insurgency against the federal government for more than 10 years, is responsible for these attacks.

The recent spate of violence comes in the wake of devastating twin truck bombs that killed hundreds in Mogadishu in October 2017. Despite making gains in security and governance during the past year, Somalia continues to struggle to escape the trap of conflict and instability.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lily Atong, who was abducted as a young girl and forced to become a wife to Lord’s Resistance Army chief Joseph Kony in Uganda, relates her ordeals. (Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images)

In November, 15 years into the “Global War on Terror,” the Obama administration expanded the scope of the war. The outgoing administration declared al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group in Somalia, to be part of the armed conflict that Congress approved in its Authorization of Military Force resolution after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In doing so, President Obama opened the way for more aggressive military operations against the group.

In recent years, the African Union led military efforts that pushed al-Shabab away from its strongholds. But the group continues to recruit mostly young Somali men into its ranks.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s government has concluded that the way to defeat al-Shabab is to prevent young people from supporting and joining violent extremist groups to begin with.…  Seguir leyendo »