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October 5, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon and Lutfi Sheriff Mohammed, Los Angeles Times
A suicide truck bombing that killed an estimated 70 people, including students hoping for foreign scholarships, underscores the intent of an Islamic militant group to ensure that Somalia remains ungovernable and a secure base for its global struggle against the West. U.S. officials say the Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the bombing Tuesday in Mogadishu, the capital, appears to be strengthening its ties with Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen. They fear it also is increasing cooperation with an extremist network in Nigeria.
August 16, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
As Somalia's drought and famine worsened in recent months, the Shabab militia in the south seized families' crops and livestock and imposed taxes that made it almost impossible to survive, according to a report released Monday by Human Rights Watch. The militia banned international humanitarian agencies as "infidels" and told the desperate population to depend on God instead. And it stopped many hungry people from fleeing the country for survival. "I think they wanted the people to die," one refugee from the Shabab-controlled Sakoh district told researchers with the rights group in an April interview in a refugee camp in neighboring Kenya.
August 6, 2011 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Lutfi Sheriff Mohamed, Los Angeles Times
The Shabab militant Islamic group retreated early Saturday from war-battered Mogadishu as residents awoke to hushed streets and the government claimed victory against extremist forces that had tormented the Somali capital for years. It was not clear if the withdrawal signaled a lasting retreat or was a tactical shift in preparation for a counterattack. The rebels have been pounded in recent months by 9,000 government-backed African Union soldiers and U.S. drone strikes that have targeted Shabab commanders in Mogadishu and other provinces.
August 4, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
With hunger in the Horn of Africa dramatically worsening, the United Nations on Wednesday added three more regions of Somalia to the list of areas it says are stricken by famine. More than 12 million people are facing starvation, with children particularly vulnerable. The U.N. last month declared that two regions of Somalia were suffering from famine, and it said Wednesday that the famine was likely to spread across most of Somalia in coming months, as well as parts of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.
August 3, 2011 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
The Obama administration is intensifying efforts to deliver food to famine-stricken Somalia, easing restrictions on humanitarian aid groups so they won't be penalized if they inadvertently help Al Qaeda-linked militants battling for power in the country. With the worst famine in decades stirring worldwide alarm, the new rules are intended to provide "more flexibility and to allow a wider range of aid to a larger number of areas in need," a senior administration official said Tuesday.
July 21, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
For months, people have been trudging out of the desert, leaving their dead children behind and carrying those who have managed to survive. On Wednesday, the horror of hunger and death unfolding in the Horn of Africa officially got a name: famine. It's actually a very technical term, unless you're one of those walking for weeks in a last-ditch hope to save your family. For the United Nations to declare a famine, as it did at a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya, the rate of child malnutrition must be at 30% or higher, daily deaths at two per 10,000 people and people not have access to food and other basic necessities.
July 18, 2011 | By Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
Al Qaeda's powerful branch in Yemen has provided weapons, fighters and training with explosives over the last year to a militant Islamic group battling for power in Somalia, according to newly developed American intelligence, raising concerns of a widening alliance of terrorist groups. Leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen also have urged members of the hard-line Shabab militia to attack targets outside Africa for the first time, said U.S. officials who were briefed on the intelligence.
July 14, 2011 | By Christopher Goffard and Lutfi Sheriff Mohammed, Los Angeles Times
To save themselves, Rahmo Ibrahim Madey and three of her children escaped on foot this month from southern Somalia's Bakol region — a drought-racked land controlled by the Islamist militants of the Shabab group. Less than 20 miles from their destination, the battered capital of Mogadishu, Madey's 1-year-old daughter, Fadumo, died of starvation. Days later, under a shelter of plastic sheeting and castaway fabric at one of the makeshift refugee camps in the capital, the 29-year-old mother spooned small helpings of porridge into the mouth of her 4-year-old daughter, Batulo.
July 6, 2011 | By Ken Dilanian, Washington Bureau
A Somali militant linked to Al Qaeda was held and interrogated for two months on a U.S. Navy ship — the first publicly known example of the Obama administration secretly detaining a new terrorism suspect outside the criminal justice system. Senior administration officials revealed the case Tuesday after an indictment against the man, Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, was unsealed in federal court in New York. The indictment, which does not mention Warsame's military detention, charges that he worked to broker a weapons deal between Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and the Somali militant group Shabab.
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