Al Shabaab and the Food Crisis

Published September 1, 2011
By Annie Janus and Kendall Lawrence
Publication TTCVR1121
Report available in PDF and Flash formats
Al Shabaab, a hard-line militia group, controls most of southern Somalia and, until recently, a large swath of Mogadishu. Though the exact origins of al-Shabaab are unknown, most scholars believe that the group started as a military faction of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which took over Mogadishu and large parts of the south after intense factionalized fighting in 2006. Al-Shabaab has waged an insurgency against Somalia''s transitional federal government (TFG) and its Ethiopian supporters over the past five years. The full name of the group is Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) meaning ‘Movement of Striving Youth.’ The fighters are a mix of local and foreign youth, attracted to the group by its claims to be the defenders of Somali dignity from outside invaders while it also calls for a broader global jihad.

This fact sheet provides an overview of al-Shabaab and their role in the current Somalia food crisis


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