ISIS Claims Its First Attack In Somalia

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The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a terror attack in Somalia – its first carried out in East Africa.

No deaths or injuries have yet been reported from the incident, but the group is treating the attack as a landmark. A car bomb detonated on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Monday. ISIS members have since said the attack was targeting African Union (AU) peacekeeper troops.

 

ISIS makes mark in East Africa

The Islamist State’s entry into East Africa has been long anticipated. There were fears that Al-Qaeda affiliates Al-Shabaab could shift allegiance to ISIS and pave the way for its entry into the African continent via Somalia.

That’s not quite how things have worked out, however. Instead, a rivalry between Al-Shabaab – East Africa’s most prominent terrorist group – and ISIS has broken out.

“In spite of the treachery of the Shabaab organization the Islamic State is expanding to Mogadishu and attacking there,” one supporter said on social media. Meanwhile, a new organisation has also emerged in the region, calling itself Jahba East Africa, and pledging its allegiance to the Islamic State.

 

A new threat for Somalia, Africa and Al-Shabaab

The arrival of ISIS in Somalia and an emerging affiliate group brings new threats to the East African country. AU peacekeeper troops are already stretched in their efforts to battle Al-Shabaab and the presence of two new groups will only make matters worse.

It’s a major concern for the African continent as a whole and international powers too. The risk of ISIS spreading throughout Africa and vastly increasing in size is a genuine threat. While the potential for rival clashes and competitive attacks between Al-Shabaab and the Islamic State puts Somalia in an even more precarious position.

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.