Recent reports shed light on Al-Shabaab’s evolving financing model. While charcoal remains key, sugar smuggling is playing an increasing role. Funding from illegal ivory, a focus of much distracting debate, is noticeable only in its absence.
UK naval forces have stepped up anti-piracy operations and the use of force in the Indian Ocean. This could, however, signal an escalation and lead to a more dangerous phase in the battle against Somali pirates.
In the last few weeks, gangs based in Somalia kidnapped tourists visiting Kenya. Just a few days later, a massive suicide bomb ripped through Mogadishu, claiming dozens of lives and shattering the relative peace that had followed Shabaab's withdrawal. The events pose a fresh challenge to the Somali government's road map for security and development.
By Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African SocietyParts of Africa have become zones of interest for the US, but its focus on military operations might be counter-productive. Instead the decision by China to focus on resources and commerce could prove far greater in significance.
The Horn of Africa famine continues to claim lives and livelihoods across south-central Somalia, the heartland of the Al-Shabaab insurgency where neither the government nor the international community dare to tread. Sustained commitment and co-operation are needed on all sides to mitigate the crisis.
While the recent terrorist attack in Algeria shone the spotlight on threats from North Africa, this is not a new phenomenon. Terrorist threats to UK citizens at home and abroad will continue to arise...