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Al-Shabab leave Kismayu

Somalia's al Shabaab rebels have withdrew from the southern Somali city of Kismayu overnight following an assault from the African Union and Kenyan forces. The al Qaeda inspired group vowed to return.

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Who are al-Shabab?

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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