February 14, 2014: UN investigators accuse the Somali government officials of selling weapons and ammo to anyone who will pay, including al Shabaab. The most frequent customers were clan militias of clans corrupt officials belong to. In 2013 the UN eased the arms embargo on Somalia so the government could arm newly trained troops. But like all other aid provided to Somalia, there were always some Somalis in charge who would steal some, often a lot, of that aid. Corruption remains the biggest problem in Somalia, followed by tribalism and Islamic terrorism.
Currently Uganda has some 8,000 peacekeepers in Somalia. This includes six battalions of infantry plus support troops. The peacekeepers serve for a year and many troops have been to Somalia more than once. But it is dangerous, with each unit suffering up to ten percent casualties (dead and wounded) while in Somalia. Because of that the army has had a hard time obtaining sufficient qualified personnel each year. To obtain the required number of troops the army has been recalling former and retired soldiers as well as the best men from local defense militias (which protect villages against bandits and tribal raiding parties). This year about a third of the peacekeepers will be from these sources. These men are probably only to going to do this once, in part for the adventure and in part for the money (over a thousand dollars a month, which is a lot if you are already drawing a pension or living out in the bush). Uganda has had peacekeepers in Somalia since 2007. While Uganda does not border Somalia, it does Kenya and like Kenya is largely Christian with a Moslem minority (12 percent of the population) that has been harboring Islamic terrorists.
Since 2011 the number of people dependent on food aid has declined 80 percent to about 800,000. Al Shabaab is no longer a major factor in keeping aid out but the pervasive corruption continues to make it difficult to get the food and other aid to those who need it most.
February 13, 2014: An al Shabaab car bomb went off when a UN convoy was passing, killing seven and wounding 15. The car bomb was placed just outside the outer ring of security keeping the Islamic terrorists out of the airport itself.
February 12, 2014: Kenya announced it was looking for a Somali man (Omar Khalid) who was believed to be an al Shabaab leader in charge of planning terror attacks in Uganda. Elsewhere in Kenya 70 men arrested during a February 2nd raid on a Mombasa mosque were accused of belonging to al Shabaab. The courts released 21 other mosque suspects for being minors and 33 adults for lack of evidence.
February 10, 2014: Two al Shabaab bombs went off in Mogadishu, killing one person and wounding several others. Some 300 kilometers north of Mogadishu an al Shabaab car bomb went off while it was being fitted with explosives. This left eight of the Islamic terrorists dead and at least five badly wounded. It was later discovered that the car bomb was intended for an attack on the nearby town of Beledewyne, which is controlled by government troops and peacekeepers.
Al Shabaab gave Internet providers 15 days to shut down all landline Internet service in the country. The Islamic terrorist group already banned Internet access via cell phones in January. Most Internet providers have complied with the cell phone Internet ban. This is extortion, with the Islamic terrorists basically threatening to attack the Internet providers and their customers if Internet access is not shut down. There are about 130,000 Internet users in Somalia. High speed landline (including fiber optic) Internet service is concentrated in Mogadishu, where it’s easier to block al Shabaab activities so the new ban might not take.
Al Shabaab attempts to expand their influence are being blocked. For example, after four weeks of work Congolese soldiers found and captured, near the Congo-Uganda border, the major base of an Islamic terrorist group the ADF-NALU (Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda). The Ugandan government thanked the Congolese government and explained that the ADF-NALU was allied with al Shabaab and trying to work with the Somali Islamic terrorists in making terror attacks inside Uganda.
February 9, 2014: An American UAV missile attack on an al Shabaab gathering killed 30 of the Islamic terrorists, including four known leaders. But the main target, supreme leader Abu Mukhtar al Zubayr (also known as Ahmed Abdi Godane) departed the target area less than a minute before the missiles struck. The U.S. is offering a $7 million reward for help that gets Zubayr captured or killed. That brought in the tip that led to this attack. A January 26th missile attack where Zubayr was also the main target missed (by not much) him. In any event the $7 million reward is working in Somalia because there are a lot of tips, many of them good, on Zubayr.
February 7, 2014: In the south (Hagar, a village near Kismayo) peacekeepers and government troops made a surprise attack and killed seven of the al Shabaab men in the village. Other Islamic terrorists fled and the village was no longer a base for al Shabaab. Peace keepers have been sweeping through the countryside regularly this year to find and eliminate al Shabaab presence in villages and towns.
February 6, 2014: The largest provider in the country (Hormuud) relented after a month of threats from al Shabaab and shut down Internet access for its cell phone customers. January 24 was the deadline al Shabaab set for Somali cell phone service providers to shut down Internet (and email) access. In southern Somalia only one provider complied at first. Al Shabaab is checking people’s phones at roadblocks and taking phones and sometimes detaining the owners of those whose phones can still receive data. The government had asked the cell phone providers not to comply. Al Shabaab said it was imposing the ban to limit American spying on their members. For years al Shabaab condemned the use of cell phones that could access the Internet because it was un-Islamic (access to porn and the like) but never went this far to enforce the prohibition (mainly because so many of their own members used the Internet, sometimes for Islamic terrorism related matter). Al Shabaab had issued its order on the January 9th.
February 4, 2014: For the second day in a row al Shabaab mortar shells were fired at the presidential palace and nearby government buildings in Mogadishu. All the shells missed their intended target, but some caused casualties and at least twelve civilians have been wounded. The government went to the area where the firing apparently took place and arrested several dozen suspects.
February 3, 2014: A Kenyan court has accused four Somali men of carrying out the January 16th bombing of Nairobi airport (the largest in the country).
February 2, 2014: In Mombasa, Kenya police raided a mosque believed to be an al Shabaab base and recruiting center and arrested 129 suspected Islamic terrorists. Police found weapons and al Shabaab documents and literature. Some Somalis living in the largely Somali neighborhood rioted for several days after the raid. The mosque that was raided has long hosted Islamic radical preachers who approved of and encouraged Islamic terrorism.
February 1, 2014: In Kismayo a clan militia, aided by al Shabaab gunmen, fought the local government forces. At least five people were killed and many more wounded before the attack was repulsed. Southern Somalia is now an autonomous region called Juba and some of the clans are angry that they did not get as much power in the new government as they thought they deserved.
January 27, 2014: In Mogadishu an explosion at an army base left five soldiers dead.