In Summary
  • At least 67 people died and 175 were injured when hooded Al-Shabaab attacked the mall a week ago.
  • Al-Shabaab is also said to have cells and allies in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, which act as a vital link to its Somalia command.

The UN had in June warned that Al-Shabaab remained a potent force in causing instability in the region even after being hit by the Kenyan military.

A report by UN Monitoring Group on Somali and Eritrea says the militia continues to profit from illegal charcoal trade in parts of Somalia it still controls.

The militants also continue to cash in on illegal arms, human trafficking and protection of illegal fishing vessels in Indian Ocean.

The report, which covers part of early this year, could have provided Kenyan security agencies with vital information on the group’s capabilities ahead of what security experts have termed as a well-planned Westgate Mall attack.

At least 67 people died and 175 were injured when hooded Al-Shabaab attacked the mall a week ago.

The report, whose investigations covered over 20 countries, cites Shebabs’ long-standing support from major Somali clans and Mogadishu-based groups keen to destabilise the Horn of Africa.

Al-Shabaab is also said to have cells and allies in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, which act as a vital link to its Somalia command.
The cells strengthen the group in staging attacks in the region and recruit youths to join the terror network.

Kenya’s cell, the Al-Hirja, formerly the Muslim Youth Centre, is said to have been weakened following the killing of its alleged ideological leader Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohammed in August last year, and disappearance of its Amirs, Sylvester Opiyo in May 2012. However, the cell is said to be striving to remain a credible threat to peace and security in the region.

It is said to be strengthening its ties to Ansar Muslim Youth Centre in Tanzania as well as Al-Shabaab affiliates in Rwanda and Burundi, as an operational priority.