Somalia: Al Shabaab Fades Loudly


May 22, 2012:  As al Shabaab fades, the many factions in Somalia are negotiating how to form a national government. This is to include the northern statelets of Somaliland and Puntland, both of which have been independent since the 1990s. Puntland has a foreign oil firm exploring for oil and natural gas. Even though nothing has yet been found, most Somali factions insist that the new central government control the oil revenue. The clans that formed Puntland refuse to go along with this, believing the national-level politicians would steal the oil revenue and leave Puntland with nothing.

May 21, 2012: In the south four Kenyan troops were wounded when their vehicle hit a land mine.

May 19, 2012: Three al Shabaab bombs went off in Mogadishu, killing eight and wounding 15.

May 18, 2012: The commander of Ethiopian troops in Somalia said that his troops could capture the port of Kismayo from al Shabaab. Kenyan troops have avoided doing that for the six months they have had troops in southern Somalia. The Ethiopian troops are better trained and led and have long been successful in fighting Somalis. The Kenyans have not been as successful and are more cautious.

As expected, foreign reporters were contacted by "Somali fishermen" protesting a recent EU (European Union) helicopter attack on pirate boats along the coast. The "fishermen" complained that it was too difficult to distinguish between fishing and pirate boats. The EU anti-piracy patrol disagrees.

 May 17, 2012:  The island nation of Mauritius will begin prosecuting Somali pirates (captured by the anti-piracy patrol) next month and jailing those who are convicted. The EU (European Union) paid Mauritius $3.8 million last year to make preparations. Additional payments will be made as trials and incarcerations occur.

May 15, 2012: For the first time EU helicopters attacked Somali pirates by destroying five speedboats on the shore. The attack took place near the Somali port of Harardhere (400 kilometers north of Mogadishu).  

In Kenyan police arrested an al Shabaab man believed responsible for a recent grenade attack that killed one person.

May 14, 2012: In Mogadishu police caught a man carrying explosives, which were to be part of an al Shabaab car bomb. Near the Kenyan border Kenyan troops captured a known al Shabaab member (a Tanzanian). Elsewhere in the south a clash between al Shabaab gunmen and Kenyan troops left six dead.

In Kenya a policeman was killed and two others wounded when their vehicle encountered a landmine near a refugee camp for Somalis.





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