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07/06/2023 East Africa (International Christian Concern) – Al-Shabaab shows no signs of decline as violence remains on the rise in East Africa as the Islamic terrorist group made many headlines in June.  

An attack in Lower Juba on June 19 in Somalia led to the death of 43 al-Shabaab fighters, including two high-level commanders. The attack was conducted by the Somali National Army (SNA) and is suspected to have partnered with the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) whose missiles are often responsible for drone attacks in the al-Shabaab region.  

The President of Somalia released a statement earlier this year saying, “We have more experience than when we first entered the war in Galmudug and Hirshabelle states. We’ve learned the tactics of al-Shabaab. Our morale tells us that we are capable of defeating them. The government’s current policy is to liberate the country from Al Shabab.” 

Marine Corps General Michael Langley, who is also the head of AFRICOM, visited Mogadishu to meet President Hassan Sheik Mohamud of Somalia, Somali defense and state department leadership, and ATMIS troops earlier in June. With the aim of establishing goals and operatives for moving forward in the conflict, the increased presence of U.S. troops following Langley’s visit demonstrates the Biden Administration’s dedication to this conflict in contrast to the previous administration’s withdrawal from the region.  

On June 7, al-Shabaab claimed several attacks against government buildings in Ethiopia. Demonstrating the fact that they are willing to cross borders, the terrorist group claimed to have caused “heavy casualties in deaths and injuries,” which was subsequently rebuked by the Ethiopian government. While there was an attempt at violence, the government said they “successfully foiled an attempted attack by the terrorist group al-Shabaab at the Ethiopia-Somalia border town of Dollo.” 

Throughout the months of June, al-Shabaab increased its presence in Kenya, causing the death of more than 30 Kenyan soldiers through various methods like stopping busses, exploding law enforcement vehicles, invading villages, burning down buildings, and targeted executions. 

Al-Shabaab is a designated terrorist organization based in Eastern Africa with ongoing attacks in Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya. An offshoot of al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab operates with Islamist extremist practices conducting attacks based on religion and attacking places of worship. Al-Shabaab has been designated by the U.S. State Department as an Entity of Concern, meaning it commits egregious violations of religious freedom amongst other characteristics.

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