On 14 October 2017, twin truck bombings in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed upwards of 300 people as violence spreads throughout Africa.
Al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgency, was almost certainly behind the attack, but has not claimed responsibility.
Al-Shabaab has been fighting the government since 2007. The targets of the attack are uncertain, although they may have been government buildings or the base of African Union forces that have been fighting the terror group.
The attacks have united Somalis in disgust at Al-Shabaab and may shore up support for Somali President Farmajo’s government.
They also illustrate the challenges the government faces:, not just Al-Shabaab’s resilience, but chronically weak security forces; escalating friction between the government and federal states, which the Saudi-Qatar spat has worsened; and longstanding clan disputes, all of which terrorists exploit.
The Islamist militant group is battling the UN-backed government in Somalia, and has carried out a string of attacks in neighbouring Kenya. The group, which is allied to al-Qaeda, has been pushed out of most of the main towns it once controlled, but it remains a potent threat with between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.
Al-Shabaab advocates the ultraconservative Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most Somalis are Sufi adherents, although both as aspects of the Sunni faith.
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