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Al Shabab shows its reach on land as it ventures into piracy on the high seas

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Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group based in Somalia, continues to pose a significant threat despite recent defeats suffered at the hands of Somalia's internationally supported government.

The group recently fired a mortar at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, demonstrating its ongoing menace. The Somali government's forces have achieved success by capturing key Al-Shabaab strongholds, including Ceel Bur, although some militants have relocated to the Sanaag region.

Al-Shabaab's adaptability is evident in its new alliance with Somali pirates off the coast. This collaboration involves providing protection to pirates in exchange for a share of the ransom obtained from hijacked ships. While Al-Shabaab has not officially confirmed this alliance, reports suggest they may receive 30% of the ransom proceeds, offering a new revenue stream after the government clamped down on other funding sources.

Simultaneously, piracy has resurged in Somali waters after a six-year lull, with the recent capture of the Maltese-flagged MV Ruen and its crew. Pirates, negotiating ransom with the ship owners, demand immunity for the crew post-payment.

Maritime Piracy: What you need to know


The revival of piracy off Somalia coincides with Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and Bab Al Mandeb, aiming to disrupt international shipping. Yemen's Houthi rebels, allied with Hamas against Israel, target shipping to pressure the international community regarding the conflict in Gaza. This has led to the redirection of commercial vessels, escalating global shipping and fuel costs.

In summary, Al-Shabaab's persistence, its evolving tactics with pirate alliances, and the broader regional challenges involving Houthi activities contribute to a complex and dynamic security situation in the Horn of Africa.


Source: The National News