WASHINGTON - An East Africa regional organization says the Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab is actively plotting attacks in countries throughout the region.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, says the militant group has expanded and formed special military wings dedicated to carrying out attacks in Kenya and even in Ethiopia.
In a 53-page report, titled “Al-Shabab as a Transnational Security Threat,” IGAD says that although al-Shabab’s main bases remain in Somalia, its “identity and aspirations” have shifted and transformed the group into a “transnational organization” with membership from across East Africa.
IGAD says the death of the group’s leader had “little effect” on the group’s operations and its capability to attack.
IGAD says it was the former leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, who formed two military wings: Jaysh Ayman, which is tasked to carry out attacks in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and Jaysh al-Usra, created to carry out attacks in Ethiopia.
The existence of a unit dedicated to planning attacks in Ethiopia is relatively new, but IGAD says it has so far had little success. It says the group planned to attack a football ((soccer)) stadium during a World Cup qualifying match in Addis Ababa in 2013, but the plotters accidentally blew themselves up. A second plot to attack Ethiopia was also foiled by that country's security forces.
IGAD urges regional countries to take “specific” measures to counter the threat from al-Shabab inside Somalia and regionally.
The steps includes sharing information, forming joint analytical teams and the formation of joint units to investigate al-Shabab-related threats. IGAD says information among governments has been “erratic and is generally perceived to be inadequate.”