Early Thursday morning, terrorists attacked Garissa University College, located in North Eastern Kenya. During the attack, students were separated by religion. Non-Muslims were targeted, and at least 147 people were killed during the attack. 142 of the people killed were students. Four of the attackers were killed by Kenyan security forces, and five suspects have been arrested. Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization, was responsible for the attack. Mohamed Kuno, a high-ranking al-Shabaab official, planned the attack, and the Kenyan government placed a large bounty on him. On Saturday, al-Shabaab threatened to kill even more people in Kenya.
In 2011, Kenya sent troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabaab. Since then, al-Shabaab has carried out a number of attacks targeting anyone who isn’t Muslim in Kenya. This attack is the deadliest attack carried out by the terrorist group, and it is the worst terrorist attack in Kenya since 1998.
In response to the attack, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the government would support the victims and their families. On Saturday, he announced that flags would be flown at half staff and the country would observe three days of mourning. After the attack, the United States stated that it would help Kenya and others in the region to take on al-Shabaab. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack.
Al-Shabaab is a Somali terrorist group that wants to turn Somalia into an Islamic state. The group is responsible for attacks that killed aid workers, journalists, and African Union peacekeepers. Al-Shabaab is aligned with al-Qaeda. The group generates a lot of money, about $70 to $100 million dollars per year. The group’s advertising and public relations are very strong; they have a very strong Twitter account and make a lot of videos promoting their group.
Somalia has a weak government and a lot of poverty. These factors make it easy for a terrorist organization to grow. Al-Shabaab grew from another terrorist organization, al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI). In 2003, there was a disagreement between the young and old members of AIAI. The older members wanted to change the politics of the group, but the younger members wanted to focus on forming an Islamic state. The young members of AIAI aligned with a group of Sharia courts and formed al-Shabaab (“the youth”).
The United States supports UN backed African forces fighting al-Shabaab. The U.S. also donates money to aid countries fighting al-Shabaab.
The Somali government has gotten stronger recently which is good. In 2012, the Somali parliament elected a president. This is the first time Somalia has had a stable government in over twenty years. In 2013, the United States officially recognized the Somali government for the first time in over twenty years.