2014 sees weakened Al-Shabaab, newborn Somalia
Addis Ababa, 1 January 2015 (WIC) - President Hassan Mohamud had promised that 2014 would see the end of Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group that has been battling successivegovernmentsyears.
The announcement was met with considerable pessimism since the task fell on national army and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). January saw a major boost for AMISOM, when Ethiopia officially joined the peacekeeping force, swelling its ranks from 17,731 to more than 22,000.
The entry of Ethiopia marked the beginning of a military offensive aimed at eliminating Al-Shabaab.
The Somalia National Army and Ethiopian troops flushed the militants out of most of their strongholds in Somalia’s upper-middle Shabelle region, with Al-Shabaab losing more than 12 towns between February and May.
Ethiopian and Djiboutian peacekeepers, with the help of local militants and the Somali army, later took control of most of the towns in the country’s Hiraan and Jubaland regions. The next target was the Lower Shabelle region, where the main base of the militant group was located.
In August, Somali and African troops launched a major offensive against the coastal town of Barawe, Al-Shabaab’s main stronghold.