Somalia army 'incapable' of ousting al-Shabab - US

A Somali soldier stands guard next to the site where Al Shebab militants carried out a suicide attack.
The Somali army is said to be heavily reliant on foreign support

Somalia's national army is "incapable" of driving out militant group al-Shabab from its strongholds, the US department has said.

The country is still "heavily dependent" on foreign support in almost all major security functions throughout the country, the State Department said in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2019.

The annual report detailing the work of "international terrorist groups" was released on Wednesday.

It says that al-Shabab funds its activities "through illegal charcoal production and exports, taxation of local populations and businesses, and by means of remittances and other money transfers from the Somali diaspora".

The group is also said to control large parts of the country through which it it uses to launch attacks in neighbouring Kenya.


Mogadishu suicide bombing kills two at military base

Muhyadin Roble

Editor, BBC News Somali

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to a military training academy in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, early Tuesday, killing at least two people.

The bomber donated his explosives after guards intercepted him as he tried to queue with new military recruits who were preparing to enter the Turkish-run facility.

The academy, known as TURKSOM, is Turkey’s largest overseas military base and has been training Somali security forces since 2017.

Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

'Al-Shabab founder killed' in US air strike

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Gen Stephen Townsend
Getty Images
Gen Stephen Townsend, pictured, described Yusuf Jiis as a ruthless killer

The United States says it has killed a founding member of the militant Islamist group al-Shabab, Yusuf Jiis, in an airstrike in Somalia.

There has been no word so far from al-Shabab.

The commander of US Africa Command, Gen Stephen Townsend, described Jiis as a brutal, ruthless killer who held senior positions in al-Shabab.

He carried out attacks inside and outside Somalia.

The US has significantly increased attacks there since US President Donald Trump took office.

A number of powerful Somali militants have been killed in US air attacks.

But every time a jihadist is killed, another one seems to be waiting in the wings.

Al-Shabab maintains an ability to strike targets and control territory.

Gen Townsend said that the US considered pausing its operations in Somalia because of coronavirus.

But it chose to continue because, as he put it, the leaders of al-Qaeda, al-Shabab and the Islamic State group have announced they see the pandemic as an opportunity to further their "terrorist agenda".

Rights groups say they have evidence that several civilians have been killed in the US attacks. America rarely acknowledges that it has killed civilians in Somalia.