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05/12/2022 Somalia (International Christian Concern) – Al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, recently released a video highlighting attacks conducted by the group in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.   

The video showcased Muhammad bin Maslamah, al Shabaab’s unit tasked with targeted assassinations inside Mogadishu and other areas controlled by Somalia’s federal government. This unit has been featured in just two other videos since it was first announced in early 2018.   

The video documents gunmen killing at close range reported by members of local governance, Somali military personnel, Somali intelligence officers, so-called ‘spies’ against the group, and off-duty Somali policemen.   

Audio snippets from speeches from various al Qaeda leaders are interspersed throughout the video.   

One deadly explosion featured is likely the May 2021 explosion in Kenya’s Lamu County. That IED left at least 8 Kenyan troops dead after one of Shabaab’s explosive devices hit their unarmored Land Cruiser. The reporting of that incident greatly matches the events shown in the video.   

Another incident is likely the Dec. 2019 blast in Wajir County, which killed two Kenyan special forces, troops.  

While Al Shabaab still maintains a heavy presence in Somalia, it has also spread south into Kenya in recent years. By the governor of Kenya’s northern Mandera County’s admission, the al Qaeda branch controlled or contested at least 60% of his county in early 2021.   

Al Shabaab joins the rising number of militant groups in Africa’s Sahel region, which comprises the countries bordering the Sahara to the south. With the rise in jihadism and the Islamist extremism that has been observed, religious minorities, including thousands of Christians, have become the victims of violent crimes and displacement as their communities are targeted by the militants.   

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