's featured topics offer an overview on selected issues. The featured topic for Somalia covers events related to the armed islamist group al-Shabaab. The featured topics are presented in the form of excerpts from documents, all coming from sources available on

Archived version - last update: 15 January 2016. Untl further notice, this featured topic will no longer be updated; it has been replaced by a featured topic on the general security situation in Somalia.

Please note: In’s English interface, the featured topics are presented in the form of direct quotations from documents available on This leads to non-English language content being quoted. German language translations/summaries of these quotations are available when you switch to’s German language interface.

Background Information

“One particularly fundamentalist faction within the ICU was al Shabaab, or ‘the Youth.’ Formed in the first few years of the new millennium, the group began as the militant remnant of a previous Somali Islamist organization, al Itihaad al Islamiya (AIAI). AIAI had arisen in the 1980s as a group of Middle Eastern-educated Somali Wahhabis who sought to replace the government of Mohammed Siad Barre with an Islamic state, yet by 2000 only the youngest, most militant members remained. These members, including Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, re-formed into al Shabaab and were incorporated into the ICU as the courts’ radical youth militia. As Aweys’ importance grew within the ICU, he passed leadership of al Shabaab on to one of his followers, Aden Hashi Ayro. “ (CSIS, 15 July 2011, p. 3)

“The Union of Islamic Courts (ICU) took control of Mogadishu in 2005 and vied with the TFG for power. In 2006, backing the TFG as a counter to the growing influence of the Islamist ICU government, Ethiopia invaded Somalia, pushing rapidly to Mogadishu and toppling the ICU regime.“ (John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 9 February 2014, p. 12)

“Rivalling the TFG, which commanded little internal support and had made little progress, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a culmination of Sharia courts and warlords, took control of the southern parts of the country and restored a semblance of order. In 2006, the TFG engaged Ethiopia’s military support to counter the ICU, a move that was generally considered to be unpopular among the public. Stripped of most of their territory, some of the hardline ICU members splintered into factions such as Al-Shabaab.” (IOM, February 2014, p. 13)

“The TFG [Transitional Federal Government] was formed in late 2004, with a five-year transitional mandate to establish permanent, representative government institutions following national elections scheduled for 2009. A political process to establish peace and stability in the country continued; however, significant problems remained. Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) entered the country in December 2006 at the request of the TFG to combat the Council of Islamic Courts and its associated armed militants, who had captured Mogadishu and were expanding control in south central Somalia.“ (USDOS, 11 March 2008)

“The most recent phase of the conflict began in December 2006 when Ethiopia intervened militarily to oust the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and support the UN-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG). This intervention, in turn, triggered an insurgency against the Ethiopian and Somali government forces. The armed youth wing of the ICU, Al-Shabaab, emerged as the most powerful armed opposition group in south-central Somalia.” (HRW, 8 September 2014)

“Originally the small, youth militia arm of a relatively moderate Islamist organization that rose to power in Somalia in early 2006, al Shabaab was radicalized and brought to prominence as a popular Islamist guerilla movement by Ethiopia’s invasion in December of that year. However, since early 2008 al Shabaab has undergone yet another transformation, this time from a largely nationalist organization focused on driving out Ethiopia through conventional military means to a hybrid movement that has increasingly embraced transnational terrorism and attempted to portray itself as part of the al Qaeda-led global war against the West.” (CSIS, 15 July 2011, p. 1)

Aims and leaders

“By its self-definition as a Sunni Salafi jihadi group, Al-Shabaab tries to emulate in organisation and action the four “rightly guided” caliphs, the al-Rashidun (Abubakar, Omar, Uthman and Ali), that led Islam in the seventh century after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. For Al-Shabaab, as for other Salafi jihadi organisations, many Muslim empires and states that followed the al-Rashidun, have deviated from the right Islamic path. Their response and duty as true believers is to return Muslims to the righteous path under one state (caliphate). Like most modern Salafis, Al- Shabaab is also heavily influenced by the Wahhabist interpretations, and their emphasis on strict scriptural authority (the Quran and Sunna) as the instructions – theological roadmap – for the organisation and structure by which to build such a righteous state.” (ICG, 26 June 2014, p. 7)

“Die Shabab sind strikt hierarchisch aufgebaut und werden autoritär geführt. Insgesamt ähnelt ihre Struktur stark der von al-Qaida und anderen jihadistischen Organisationen. Dies betrifft die einzelnen Organisationsteile ebenso wie den ausgeprägt bürokratischen Charakter, was vermuten lässt, dass al-Qaida-Personal die Shabab in ihrer Frühphase beraten hat. (SWP, November 2013, p. 3)

“These members, including Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, re-formed into al Shabaab and were incorporated into the ICU as the courts’ radical youth militia. As Aweys’ importance grew within the ICU, he passed leadership of al Shabaab on to one of his followers, Aden Hashi Ayro. “ (CSIS, 15 July 2011, p. 3)

“On 05 September 2014 the US Department of Defence announced the death of Ahmed Abdi Godane „Abu Zubayr“. Al-Shabaab's leader had been killed in an US air strike when he met with militia commanders on 01 September 2014. […] Al-Shabaab appointed Sheikh Ahmed Umar „Abu Ubaida“ as Godane's successor. Not much is known about the Sheikh, who is thought to be in his early forties, coming from the area around Kismayo, belonging to the Dir Clan and having joined al-Shabaab in 2006. “ (BAMF, 8 September 2014, p. 4).

Main events in previous years

“2009 zogen sich die äthiopischen Truppen aus Somalia zurück. Der gemäßigte Islamist Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed wurde neuer Präsident der Übergangsregierung, die von der extremistischen al-Shabaab-Miliz bekämpft wurde. Al-Shabaab war zwar als Jugendorganisation der 'Union islamischer Gerichte' tätig, wurde aber nach deren Zerschlagung durch die äthiopischen Truppen eine eigenständige Organisation. Bis Ende 2010 übernahm al-Shabaab in weiten Teilen Süd- und Zentralsomalias wieder die Kontrolle. Die Übergangsregierung wurde unter dem Schutz der AMISOM-Mission auf Teile Mogadischus zurückgedrängt.
Ab Februar 2011 intensivierten die Truppen der Übergangsregierung und die AMISOM-Truppen den Kampf gegen die al-Shabaab-Miliz, die sich im August 2011 aus Mogadischu zurückziehen mussten und im Sommer auch in anderen Teilen des Landes unter Druck gerieten. Nach mehreren Überfällen und Entführungen von ausländischen Staatsbürgern aus Kenia durch somalische Milizen marschierten im Oktober 2011 kenianische Truppen im Süden Somalias ein.“ (AI, Dezember 2011)

„The Kenyan government says it sent troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab, whom it blames for the recent kidnappings of tourists and aid workers.“ (BBC, 28 October 2011)

“Seit Äthiopiens Rückzug unterstützten Truppen der Afrikanischen Union (AMISOM) aus Uganda und Burundi die Übergangsregierung. Ab 2011 erhöhten sie den militärischen Druck auf die Shabab und ab Oktober 2011 kamen ihnen kenia-nische Truppen zu Hilfe, die von Süden her vorrückten. Die Shabab mussten sich im August 2011 aus der Hauptstadt Mogadi-schu zurückziehen und verloren im Spät-sommer 2012 auch Kismayo.“ (SWP, November 2013, p. 3)

“While AMISOM and Somali forces continued to control major population strongholds, al-Shabaab continued to control large sections of rural areas in south-central Somalia, including areas in the Juba, Shabelle, Bay, and Bakol regions. Al-Shabaab also continued to operate in northern Somalia along the Golis Mountains and within the federal state of Puntland’s larger urban areas.” (USDOS, 30 April 2014)

Chronology of Events

For a chronology from January 2012 to April 2013, see the following archived version of this featured topic:
For a chronology from January 2013 to August 2014, see the following archived version of this featured topic:
The following chronology contains events in reverse chronological order starting in April 2014:


„One civilian was killed and another seriously wounded Thursday when mortars fired by Islamist Shebab insurgents exploded close to the presidential palace in Mogadishu, police said. […] The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on a pro-Shebab website. “(AFP, 7 January 2016)

„A suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday, injuring three people, police and witnesses said. The attack targeted the Village Restaurant, an eatery in the south of the city popular with journalists and government officials which was already hit by a deadly suicide bombing in 2012. […] No group had yet claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack but Al-Qaeda affiliated Shebab extremists have carried out a raft of similar attacks in the past.“ (AFP, 2 January 2016)


“Islamist militant group al Shabaab publicly executed a Somali military officer and the leader of a small town [Mareerey] in the southern Somali region of Lower Shabelle, a spokesman for the group and local residents said on Thursday. […] About 200 locals gathered on Wednesday in Bariirey town, about 50 km south of the capital Mogadishu, to watch as al Shabaab militants shoot the two men dead, residents said.” (Reuters, 24 December 2015)

“At least four people were killed and nine wounded on Saturday in a gun attack on a government official in Somalia's capital Mogadishu that was followed shortly afterwards by a car bombing, police said. […] There were no immediate claim of responsibility, but Somalia's Islamist Shebab insurgents have carried out a string of attacks in the capital.” (AFP, 19 December 2015)

„Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the targeted killing of national radio and TV journalist Hindiya Mohamed in Mogadishu today. Mohamed, who worked for Radio Mogadishu and Somali National TV, was badly wounded by a bomb planted in her car and died from her injuries in Madina Hospital a few hours later. No organization has claimed the bombing but it had all the hallmarks of an operation by the Islamist rebel militia Al Shabaab. This group had already targeted journalists from the national media of the Somali State against which it is fighting.“ (RSF, 3 December 2015)


“A Somali member of parliament has died hours after he was shot and wounded when gunmen sprayed his car with bullets, the prime minster said Sunday. MP Mohamed Ahmed Gurhan was hit by gunfire several times as he travelled through the capital Mogadishu on the way to parliament on Saturday, the latest attack targeting members of parliament. […] No one has claimed the attack, but the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents having claimed previous killings.” (AFP, 8 November 2015)

“At least 12 people were killed in the Somali capital on Sunday after Shebab gunmen used a vehicle packed with explosives to blast their way inside a hotel, police said. The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab claimed responsibility for the dawn attack at the Sahafi hotel, which is popular with members of parliament, government employees and businessmen.” (AFP, 1 November 2015)


“The nephew of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been shot dead in the capital, Mogadishu. […] Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it was behind the killings.” (BBC, 7 October 2015)


“At least seven people were killed and at least 10 wounded on Monday when a car bomb exploded near a heavily-guarded complex housing the offices of Somalia's president and its prime minister in Mogadishu, a government spokesman said. There were no immediate reports of anyone attempting to enter the complex, and there was no claim of responsibility. The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab have often used cars driven by suicide bombers as a way of breaking into a location, with more attackers following on foot.” (AFP, 21 September 2015)

“Reporters Without Borders is shocked and saddened to learn that Abdullahi Ali Hussein, the editor of the English-language section of the Somali online newspaper Waagasucub, was gunned down in the Mogadishu district of Dharkenley on 8 September. Also known by the pseudonym of Ano Gel, he was shot by unidentified gunmen who followed him as he left a mosque. He told a colleague last week that he had received telephone threats. No group has claimed responsibility but the way he was killed matches the methods used by Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia responsible for murdering many journalists in the past.” (RSF, 10 September 2015)

“Fighters from the al-Shabab militant Islamist group have overrun an African Union military base in southern Somalia, inflicting heavy casualties, witnesses have told the BBC. The militants said they have killed 70 AU [African Union] soldiers at the Janale base, 90km (55 miles) south-west of the capital. AU forces say they are back in control after taking a ‘tactical withdrawal’.” (BBC, 1 September 2015)


“At least 18 people were killed in Somalia on Saturday in two bomb attacks carried out by suspected Shebab militants in the south of the country and the capital Mogadishu, officials said. In the first attack, a suicide bomber drove a vehicle laden with explosives into a base on the outskirts of the southern city of Kismayo, where African Union peacekeepers from Kenya as well as Somali government soldiers are stationed. In a second attack late Saturday, at least four civilians died when a car bomb went off near a police station in Mogadishu, officials said.” (AFP, 22 August 2015)

JULY 2015

“At least 13 people have been killed and more than 40 others injured in a huge bomb explosion at a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu. A BBC correspondent in the city says a lorry was used to attack the Jazeera Palace Hotel near the airport. […] Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.” (BBC, 26 July 2015)

“Somalia's Shebab insurgents assassinated a lawmaker and his guards, the president said late Saturday, […] Gunmen sprayed the car of MP Abdulahi Hussein Mohamud with gunfire as he travelled through a southern district of the capital Mogadishu earlier Saturday, killing him, his two guards and the driver.” (AFP, 26 July 2015)

“Somali forces backed by African Union troops have retaken one of the last remaining strongholds of Islamist militant group al-Shabab. Kenyan and Somali government soldiers entered south-western Bardere town, which has been under al-Shabab control since 2008, backed by heavy weapons and air support, residents told the BBC.” (BBC, 22 July 2015)

“At least two senior commanders from the Islamist militant group al-Shabab have been killed in a drone strike in south-west Somalia, residents say. Several loud blasts were heard in the town of Bardere at dawn and the bodies were found later, they said.” (BBC, 16 July 2015)

“Somalia's Shebab militants stormed two hotels in the capital Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least five people, before they were themselves killed in heavy fighting, security forces said. At least one suicide bomber used a car packed with explosives to smash open the gates of one of the two hotels, both fortified, guarded, and popular with lawmakers from the nearby parliament, as well as government workers and businessmen.” (AFP, 10 July 2015)

JUNE 2015

“Al-Shabab militants have killed at least five soldiers in an overnight attack on an army base in the southern Somali port of Kismayo.” (BBC, 29 June 2015)

“At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen attacked an African Union military base in southern Somalia, witnesses say. A suicide car bomber drove into the main gates of the base in Leego, along the main road connecting the capital, Mogadishu and the city of Baidoa. The militant Islamist group al-Shabab says its fighters have taken control of the base but this is not confirmed.” (BBC, 26 June 2015)

“A military vehicle escorting a United Arab Emirates' diplomatic convoy was hit by a car bomb in Somalia's capital, killing at least 12 people, police say. The UAE ambassador survived the suicide attack as he was riding in a bullet-proof land cruiser vehicle, the BBC's Mohamed Moalimu reports from Mogadishu. The militant Islamist group al-Shabab says it carried out the attack, to target ‘a foreign enemy’.” (BBC, 24 June 2015)

“The Somali jihadist group al-Shabab has carried out an attack in the country's capital Mogadishu. A suicide car bomber and gunmen attacked a training centre for the national intelligence agency on Sunday morning. Government officials said that soldiers ‘foiled the attack’ and at least three militants died.” (BBC, 21 June 2015)

MAY 2015

„A Somali member of parliament has been shot dead in Mogadishu in an attack by suspected Islamist militants. Security officials said that Yusuf Dirir was killed when gunmen opened fire on his car.“ (BBC, 23 May 2015)

“Nach Angaben des Gouverneurs von Lower Shabelle eroberten Regierungstruppen bei einem Gegenangriff am 15.05.15 zwei Städte (Awdhegel und Mubarak, ca. 75 km westlich von Mogadischu) zurück, die die al-Shabaab kurz zuvor eingenommen hatte. Bei den Kämpfen sollen vier Personen getötet worden sein, darunter zwei Soldaten. Auf Seiten der Islamisten habe es mehr als 20 Tote gegeben.” (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Germany), 21 May 2015)

APRIL 2015

“The Somali Islamist movement al-Shabab has for the first time publicly killed a man for ‘insulting the prophet Muhammed’, witnesses have told the BBC. Crowds watched as the man was shot by a firing squad in the southern town of Jamame in the Lower Juba region.” (BBC, 24 April 2015)

“A car bomb has exploded outside a popular restaurant in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The BBC's Moalimu Mohammed in Mogadishu says 11 people have been confirmed dead in the explosion and others have been seriously injured. Banooda restaurant is in front of the Central Hotel, which is often frequented by politicians. Militants from the al-Shabab Islamist group often attack hotels, restaurants and government complexes in the city.” (BBC, 21 April 2015)

“Somalia's Shebab Islamists killed six UN workers on Monday when they set off a huge bomb which ripped through a staff bus in the northeastern town of Garowe. Four of those killed worked for the UN children's agency UNICEF, while four other UNICEF staff were in a ‘serious condition’, the agency said in a statement.” (AFP, 20 April 2015)

“Somalia's Shebab shot dead a lawmaker in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, the latest in a string of assassinations of politicians in the war-torn country. Adan Haji Hussein, an MP in the semi-autonomous northern Puntland region, was killed on the streets of the capital Mogadishu, where he was visiting, a Shebab spokesman told AFP.” (AFP, 18 April 2015)

“Al-Shabab militants have attacked a government complex in a busy area of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, leaving at least 17 people dead, including seven assailants. A car loaded with explosives was driven into the wall surrounding the compound, and gunmen then stormed the building.” (BBC, 14 April 2015)

MARCH 2015

“Somali forces brought an end to an hours-long gun and bomb siege on a Mogadishu hotel by Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab militants on Saturday, with the government giving a final toll of 14 dead.” (AFP, 27 March 2015)

“Suspected members of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militants Thursday attacked a fortified area in the central town of Baidoa containing regional government headquarters, a United Nations compound and airport, security officials said.” (AFP, 12 March 2015)

“One person was killed on Wednesday in a car bomb attack against a popular hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police and security sources said.” (AFP, 11 March 2015)


“Insurgents in Somalia's capital fired a barrage of mortar rounds Thursday targeting the highly fortified presidential palace and main government compound, killing a guard, security officials said. There was no claim of any responsibility for the explosions, but the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels have staged a string of attacks in their fight to overthrow the country's internationally-backed government. However, other militia forces operate in Mogadishu, and the parliament is often riven by intense political power struggles.” (AFP, 26 February 2015)

“Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents killed at least 25 people in an attack on a popular hotel in the capital Mogadishu where government ministers and officials were holding Friday prayers.” (AFP, 20 February 2015)

“A Somali member of parliament has been shot dead in Mogadishu by Islamist militants from the al-Shabab movement, officials say. Abdullahi Qayad Barre was killed near the presidential palace when gunmen opened fire on his car. A spokesman for al-Shabab said the group had carried out the attack, and would target other MPs.” (BBC, 9 February 2015)

“Several people are believed to have been killed in an airstrike in southern Somalia apparently targetting a house used by members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militia, officials and witnesses said Sunday. A Shebab source confirmed a missile hit the Islamist-held stronghold of Dinsoor, 270 kilometres (170 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu, late Saturday, but declined to give details on who was targeted and how many casualties there were from the attack.” (AFP, 1 February 2015)


“A car bomb has exploded in the Somali capital outside the gates of a hotel where Turkish delegates were preparing for the visit of their president. Three people were killed in the attack, including two security officers and a hotel employee, police told the BBC. […] Al-Qaeda-linked militants often carry out attacks in Mogadishu.” (BBC, 22 January 2015)

“Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab has killed by firing squad four men accused of spying for the CIA and other intelligence agencies. The men, who included two government soldiers, were shot in front of a large crowd in the southern town of Bardhere, witnesses said.” (BBC, 7 January 2015)

“A huge suicide car bomb blast shook Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Sunday near the heavily-fortified international airport, killing four people, officials said. A police official said the bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into another car, setting off a huge blast that was heard across the coastal city. A military spokesman for Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Musab, confirmed that the militants had carried out the attack.” (AFP, 4 January 2015)


“A top leader of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels, intelligence chief Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, has surrendered to government and African Union forces and is now in custody, officials said Saturday.” (AFP, 27 December 2014)

“Three African Union soldiers and a civilian were killed Thursday after Shebab militants staged a brazen attack on the force's heavily fortified headquarters in Somalia. The AU force known as AMISOM said troops regained control of the base in Mogadishu after a gunfight that left five of the attackers dead while three others were captured.” (AFP, 25 December 2014)

“At least seven women have been killed in ‘barbaric’ attacks in Somalia after Shebab insurgents beheaded a soldier's wife, prompting revenge executions of women close to the Islamists, elders said Thursday.” (AFP, 11 December 2014)

“A soldier in Somalia has avenged the killing of his wife by shooting dead five women related to militant Islamists, an official has said. […] Al-Shabab gunmen killed his wife and another female soldier in the small south-western town of Tiyeglow on Tuesday night, the official said.” (BBC, 10 December 2014)

“Four people were killed and nine wounded in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Wednesday when a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a UN convoy, police and rebels said. […] Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels, who are fighting to overthrow the country's internationally-backed government, said in a statement that their fighters had ‘targeted a convoy of foreign mercenaries and their apostate allies.’” (AFP, 3 December 2014)


“An engineer working with a Turkish company was killed on Thursday in a bomb attack in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels have been blamed for a string of killings targeting politicians, returning diaspora and anyone linked to foreign companies or the internationally-backed government.” (AFP, 27 November 2014)


“At least one person was killed and several others wounded on Saturday in a car bombing outside a hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, officials said. […] There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although similar attacks have been carried out in the past by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels, who are fighting to overthrow the country's internationally-backed government.” (AFP, 25 October 2014)

“An Islamic court has stoned a teenager to death in southern Somalia [in Dharuro village in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region] after convicting him of raping a woman, a pro-Islamist news site reports. […] Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab implements a strict version of Islamic law in areas it controls.” (BBC, 22 October 2014)

“London-based Somali Channel Television’s Mogadishu bureau chief, Abdirizak Jama Elmi is in a serious condition in the city’s Madina Hospital after gunmen shot him several times outside his home in the district of Howlawadag at around midday on 12 October. […] The head of the National Intelligence and Security Agency, Gen. Abdirahman Mohamed Turyare, visited Abdirizak Jama Elmi in hospital and promised a thorough investigation into the shooting, suggesting that Al-Shabaab were to blame.” (AFP, 14 October 2014)

“Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Monday that a car bomb which killed at least 13 people the day before was an act of ‘desperation’ by Islamist Shebab insurgents. […] The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents have not claimed responsibility for the attack, but the fighters have stepped up guerrilla attacks in the capital and elsewhere in the country after being chased from key cities by African Union-led troops.” (AFP, 13 October 2014)

“Somali military commanders Monday celebrated the capture of the last major port held by Islamist Shebab insurgents, as the government secured control of the town for the first time in over two decades. ‘Al-Shebab are no longer in Barawe,’ military commander Abdirisak Khalif Elmi told hundreds of residents Monday, calling on citizens to support the government.” (AFP, 6 October 2014)

“Troops in northern Somalia have battled al-Shabab Islamist militants for the Galgala mountains, with both sides claiming to have won. […] Abdiweli Hirsi Abdille, the information minister of Somalia's north-eastern region of Puntland, told the BBC that troops had captured the Galgala region in an early morning offensive. […] An al-Shabab official, who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, said that after fierce fighting they had fought off the assault, killing 20 soldiers, including the commander of the operation.“ (BBC, 1 October 2014)


“Taking its fight against the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab to the airwaves, Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) has been arresting journalists and closing news media since 2 September, when it issued a ban on national media coverage of all Al-Shabaab activities.“ (RSF, 11 September 2014)

“A suicide car bomber has killed 12 people in an attack aimed at African Union (AU) troops in Somalia, an official has said. A car laden with explosives was rammed into an AU convoy travelling south-west of the capital, Mogadishu, said local governor Adukadir Mohamed Sidi. The militant Islamist group al-Shabab said it was behind the attack. It had earlier vowed to avenge the killing of its leader Ahmed Abdi Godane last week.” (BBC, 8 September 2014)

“The leader of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed following a US attack earlier this week, the Pentagon has said.” (BBC, 5 September 2014)


“Somalia's Shebab rebels carried out a major car bomb and gun attack against an intelligence headquarters in central Mogadishu on Sunday, leaving at least seven militants and four others dead. […] On Saturday the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said it had captured the town of Bulomarer, some 160 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, as part of what it has called ‘Operation Indian Ocean’.“ (AFP, 31 August 2014)

“A Somali MP has been assassinated in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu - the fifth parliamentarian to be killed this year. Aden Madeer was shot when he left a mosque in the city after Friday prayers, witnesses said. The Islamist militant group al-Shabab told the BBC it carried out the assassination.” (BBC, 1 August 2014)

JULY 2014

“Militant Islamists in Somalia have shot dead a Muslim woman for refusing to wear a veil, her relatives say. Ruqiya Farah Yarow was killed outside her hut near the southern Somali town of Hosingow by gunmen belonging to the al-Shabab group, they say. […] An al-Shabab spokesman denied the group had killed the woman.” (BBC, 30 July 2014)

“Popular Somali musician and member of parliament Saado Ali Warsame has been shot dead by Islamist militants. She was killed along with a civil servant in a drive-by shooting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. A spokesman for the Islamist al-Shabab group, Abdulaziz Abu Musab, told the BBC that she was targeted for her politics and not her music.“ (BBC, 23 July 2014)

“Six people were killed in a southern Somali port town on Saturday after a suicide bomber targeted the house of a prominent anti-Shebab militia leader, the intended victim said. ‘The explosion occurred soon after I entered the house,’ tribal leader Iftin Hassan Basto said in a statement. ‘My security guards saw a man who tried to infiltrate them and when they confronted him he blew himself up.’ Basto added that six people, including a child, were killed and seven others injured. The attack took place in the town of Kismayo, a former stronghold of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab.” (AFP, 19 July 2014)

“Somalia's police and intelligence chiefs have been sacked following militant Islamist group al-Shabab's assault on the presidential palace, a government minister has said. Three of the attackers were killed and a fourth captured, the minister added. Al-Shabab fighters entered the compound in the capital, Mogadishu, on Tuesday before being driven out by African Union (AU) and government forces. This was the second assault on the heavily fortified compound this year.” (BBC, 9 July 2014)

“A suicide car bomb has killed at least four people near Somalia's parliament, police and Somali media say. […] One report quoted al-Shabab militants praising the ‘sacrificial attack’. An attack by the rebels on the building in May left at least 10 people dead.” (BBC, 5 July 2014)

JUNE 2014

“At least two people were killed when a bomb exploded on Monday in a busy market in Somalia's capital Mogadishu at the start of Islam's holy month of Ramadan, police said. […] There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab have carried out a string of similar bombings, and have vowed to increase attacks during the fasting month of Ramadan.” (AFP, 30 June 2014)

“Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab commandos on Thursday attacked an African Union military base in central Somalia dressed in stolen government army uniforms, killing at least two soldiers from Djibouti, the AU force said. The Shebab said their gunmen stormed the compound of a hotel where Djiboutian troops with the AU force were based in the town of Bulla Burde, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, their spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP.” (AFP, 26 June 2014)

“Kenyan fighter jets have bombed the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia, killing more than 80 of its fighters, the African Union (AU) force in Somalia has said. The assault on the villages of Anole and Kuday was part of an effort to ‘liberate’ Somalia from al-Shabab's grip, the AU added. Witnesses said a third area along the Kenya-Somalia border was also bombed.” (BBC, 23 June 2014)

“Somalia's al-Shabab militants have rounded up around 100 women and ordered them to comply with a strict Islamic dress code or risk being whipped. The women were arrested in Buale, about 300km (185 miles) south-west of the capital, Mogadishu.” (BBC, 13 June 2014)

“At least 74 people were killed in fighting near Somalia's border with Ethiopia on Sunday, according to officials and witnesses. Somali and Ethiopian forces attacked the bases of Al-Shebab islamists near the south-western town of Ato.” (All Africa, 3 June 2014)

MAY 2014

“Islamist militants from the al-Shabab movement have attacked the Somali parliament in Mogadishu, leaving at least 10 people dead.” (BBC, 24 May 2014)

“A Somali politician was wounded Monday in a bomb blast in the latest in a string of attacks in the war ravaged capital Mogadishu, a local official said. […] The politician, former city commissioner Farah Dahir Jimale, was rushed to hospital. One passerby was also wounded. No group claimed immediate responsibility, but Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels carry out regular attacks, and have vowed to topple the internationally-backed government.” (AFP, 19 May 2014)

“A special UN military force to protect aid workers deployed for the first time in the war-ravaged Somali capital Sunday, amid a wave of attacks blamed on Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents. The 400-strong ‘defensive’ guard force of Ugandan troops, based at the heavily fortified Mogadishu airport, is ‘mandated to protect UN staff and installations’ in the capital. Despite the government's insistence that it has improved security, the Shebab continue to carry out bombings - including targeting aid workers - in their bid to overthrow Somalia's internationally backed but fragile leadership.” (AFP, 18 May 2014)

“At least five people were killed on Monday in a huge explosion targeting a senior official in the southern Somali town of Baidoa, police said. ‘The target was a pick-up truck transporting a senior local official,’ police spokesman Mohamed Moalim Abdirahman said. ‘He escaped the attack, but two of his security guards were killed along with three civilians.’ […] No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Shebab have carried out a string of bombings and vowed to overthrow the war-torn country's internationally-backed but fragile government.” (AFP, 12 May 2014)

“At least six people have been killed in a bomb explosion in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Islamist militant group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack, targeting the vehicle of a prominent former government official, who was killed.” (BBC, 3 May 2014)

“At least seven people were killed Saturday, among them a prominent Somali official, in a bomb attack by Islamist militants in the centre of the capital Mogadishu, officials said. Security sources said they believed a bomb was attached to a car being driven by Abdikafi Hilowle, a police official and former secretary for the city's administration, and detonated remotely. Other officials said the blast may have been from a roadside bomb. Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels said they carried out the attack, branding Hilowle ‘an enemy of Allah’ and accusing him of working with foreign intelligence services.” (AFP, 3 May 2014)

APRIL 2014

“Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab said they had assassinated a lawmaker on Tuesday, the second such killing in 24 hours and the latest in a series of attacks in the war-ravaged capital of Mogadishu. Abdiaziz Isak was shot ‘several times and he died instantly,’ police officer Mohamed Dalane said, close to where the politician was killed in the city's Madina district.” (AFP, 22 April 2014)

“A Somali MP has been killed by a car bomb in the capital, Mogadishu, officials say. Islamist group al-Shabab told Reuters news agency it was behind the attack on MP Isak Mohamed Rino. Another MP, Mohamed Ali, was wounded in the blast, which comes as the government hosts a security conference.” (BBC, 21 April 2014)

“Two Kenyan aid workers have been found ‘lost and disorientated’ in Somalia after being kidnapped by al-Shabab in 2011, the military says. Daniel Njuguna and James Kiarie are now in hospital in the Somali town of Dhobley, the army says.” (BBC, 11 April 2014)

“Three years after Al-Shabab insurgents withdrew from the city, security in Mogadishu remains a serious problem for residents and aid workers, with threats from Al-Shabab incursions, criminals and militia.” (IRIN, 9 April 2014)

SOURCES: (all links accessed on 14 January 2016)

This featured topic was prepared after researching solely on and within time constraints. It is meant to offer an overview on an issue and is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status, asylum or other form of international protection. Chronologies are not intended to be exhaustive. Every quotation comes from a document available on and is referred to with a hyperlink to the respective document on