Al-Shabaab fast becoming `extended hand of al-Qaida` in Somalia
London – Somalia’s extremist group al-Shabaab has now become ‘an extended hand of al-Qaida’ with the African Union’s (AU) campaign against extremism losing momentum, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said.
According to The Guardian, there are evidences that al-Shabaab is regrouping, evolving and recruiting members more quickly than it loses them.
Officials admitted that after forcing al-Shabaab out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011 and Kismayo in 2012, the AU campaign against it has stalled.
A UN report in 2011 had estimated al-Shabaab’s strength to be about 5,000 fighters, while a Kenyan military intelligence officer serving with AU force, Amisom, raised the figures to almost three times higher.
According to the report, the group might have lost key urban centres, but it still controls a third of Somalia’s total territory.
The group had claimed responsibility for last month’s deadly attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, which claimed almost 70 lives.
However, al-Shahab is believed to be suffering with logistical problems, shortages of ammunition and recent internal power struggles, the report added.