UN: Islamic State growing in Somalia

article-img

The Islamic State’s presence in Somalia is growing, according to a new report from the United Nations.

The UN says a faction of the Islamist militant group has grown significantly over the past year, receiving funds from Syria and Iraq. The group is estimated to have grown from a few dozen members to as many as 200 over the last year, carrying out a number of attacks in Puntland.

Growing IS presence in Somalia

Somalia’s struggles against terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, are well documented. However, the number of militants who associate themselves with the Islamic State is growing in the country, which puts a new angle on Somalia’s fight against terrorism.

Western powers also fear that IS could spread further in Africa after largely being pushed out of the Middle East. Somalia’s IS faction was targeted by a US drone strike earlier this month – the first time the Islamic State has been targeted by a US operation in the Horn of Africa.

Fears of a new stronghold in Somalia

The UN echoes fears from the US and other international powers that Somalia could be used to establish a new stronghold for the Islamic State as fighters are pushed out of Syria and Iraq.

Somalia is already struggling to cope with its ongoing battle against Al-Shabaab and faces the prospect of losing AMISOM troops that have aided the government in recent years. Somalia’s army is yet to prove it can handle the fight against Al-Shabaab alone and a surge of foreign IS fighters flocking to the country would make the challenge exponentially more difficult.

Featured image: By thierry ehrmann – https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/16577868748, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46405403

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.