Al-Qaeda Affiliate Seen Posing Increasing Risk in East Africa

East Africa faces a rising threat from al-Qaeda’s Somalia-based affiliate after it established a presence in five other countries in the region, according to a report from a multi-national bloc.

Al-Shabaab, which is being targeted both by U.S. drones and an African military force, has expanded to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda since 2010, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development said Monday. The militants have staged fatal attacks in Kenya, killing dozens of people at a mall in the capital in 2013 and about 150 at a northeastern university last year, as well as in Uganda and Djibouti.

“With an ever expanding and adaptive network of sympathizers across the region, the threat of more terrorist actions directed, encouraged, or inspired by al-Shabaab continues to rise,” according to the report.

While an internationally funded African Union military mission has driven the militants from the capital, Mogadishu, and other major population centers in Somalia, al-Shabaab still regularly attacks military, political and civilian targets there. U.S. drones killed leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and five other senior operatives since September 2014, the report said.

An organization that focuses on regional security, IGAD’s members are Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti.

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