Somalia Battles Militancy in Shape of Al-Shabab
The militant Islamist group known as al-Shabab is deepening control over much of south and central Somalia and parts of the country’s capital Mogadishu, posing threats to the U.S.-backed government in Somalia and the United States itself.
He describes his impressions of Mogadishu in this slide show:
Photos by Frank Langfitt
Langfitt also talked about how Mogadishu is again drawing the global community’s interest because of al-Shabab:
“They (al-Shabab) have shown a willingness, at least in one case in Kampala, to bomb other countries. They blew up a couple of places where people were watching the World Cup last summer,” he told us by telephone from Kenya. “They’ve also been recruiting Somali-Americans to fight in Mogadishu and a concern back in the States is certainly that maybe they could take one or two of these people, try to send them back to the United States to attack the country.”
Despite their strong-armed tactics and cruel punishments, al-Shabab is also viewed as a stabilizing force by some citizens rattled by war.
“What I found very striking in talking to some people in Mogadishu is there was a kind of feeling that ‘OK, if al-Shabab takes over, maybe the fighting will end. And they have brought security to some places and frankly I just want security, I don’t really care who gives it to me.’ And that’s a little haunting, but it’s also very practical,” Langfitt said.