Somalia’s al-Shabab faces first serious threat after pro-government offensive makes gains.

Halkaan ka akhri

NAIROBI, Kenya — Officials and observers say Somalia’s most dangerous Islamist group is facing its first serious threat in years following an offensive by pro-government forces.

Al-Shabab has been beaten back from areas of the capital, Mogadishu, and in regions of southern Somalia. The battlefield defeats are its first major setbacks since it overtook large portions of Mogadishu two years ago and carried out a double suicide bombing in Uganda last year that killed 76 people during the World Cup final.

Jennifer Cooke, director of the Africa program for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that al-Shabab is not as strong as it appears and is deeply unpopular inside Somalia.

Somalia has been mired in violence since 1991.

Source: AP

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