Al-Shabab is an Islamist militant group that has been active Somalia since the early 1990s. Here are some facts about the group:
- Al-Shabab means 'youth' or 'boys' in Arabic
- Ideological roots in the conservative Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam. Aims to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.
- Took control of large parts of south and central Somalia after 1991 coup
- Behind several terrorist attacks outside Somalia, including one that killed 79 people at a football match in Uganda in 2010
- Formally merged with al-Qaeda in February
- Has been in retreat since August 2011
- Kismayo is a vital source of income as it exports charcoal from the port
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