Al-Shabaab is responsible for more than half the reported attacks carried out in Africa by militant Islamist groups during the past 12 months, a think tank associated with the US Defence Department said on Tuesday.
Shabaab also ranks as the deadliest insurgency on the continent. It killed 4,834 persons in the 12-month period ending on March 31, according to the Washington-based Africa Centre for Strategic Studies.
The intensifying violence in Somalia is consistent with an upsurge in attacks by militant Islamist groups in eastern, northern and western Africa, the think tank noted in an “infographic”.
Nearly 3,000 attacks were reported in Africa in the past 12 months — a 38 per cent increase over the same period spanning 2016 and 2017.
Shabaab was able to step up its lethal actions despite a greater frequency of US drone attacks since President Trump’s inauguration at the start of 2017.
A decade of counterinsurgency operations by African Union troops and Somali government forces have also failed to blunt Al-Shabaab’s capacity to inflict heavy civilian and military casualties.
Shabaab launched an average of almost five attacks a day last year, most of them occurring either in Mogadishu or in rural areas. Its 1749 violent actions amounted to 58 per cent of the total attributed to Islamist groups in all of Africa.
Kenya and the four other African Union troop-contributing countries lost soldiers in Somalia last year, but their numbers are not known because the AU and the individual countries do not release a complete tally of fatalities.
A total of 10,535 Africans lost their lives as a result of militant Islamists’ actions in the past 12 months, the think tank reported. That total, while greater than the number of fatalities in the previous 12 months, is substantially below the peak of 18,728 deaths reported in 2015.
Source Daily Nation