New data shows that Somalia-based al-Shabaab is now the deadliest terror groupin Africa, becoming even more dangerous than Boko Haram.
The data from Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset was analyzed by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. It found that al-Shabaab attacks led to the killing of more than 4,000 people in 2016.
Experts believe that al-Shabaab has risen as Boko Haram has started to fall. Recently, the Nigerian military has re-captured many holdings of Boko Haram.
Al-Shabaab meanwhile has been trying to take over the Somali government and targeting parliament offices and the presidential palace. The group has also been actively working to recruit from within the United States.
In January 2016, the group released a video that included a video of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump proposing a ban on Muslims. Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who has since been killed by a U.S. drone, then warns that Muslims are in danger.
"The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens," al-Awlaki says after Trump's remarks. "Slowly but surely, your situation is becoming similar to that of the embattled Muslim community of Spain after the fall of Granada."
The group is also working to drum up support and followers in Somalia, the group Critical Threats said.
"It is distributing humanitarian aid as part of this strategy targeting vulnerable populations in rural Somalia," it said. "The group is well-positioned to capitalize on devastating drought and impending famine. Al-Shabaab seeks to backfill the capabilities gap of the weak central government in Mogadishu that cannot meet the humanitarian needs of millions of its citizens.
“An inadequate international humanitarian response to address the food shortages will exacerbate the crisis and create opportunities for al-Shabaab."
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: June 5, 2017