On a Friday afternoon men wearing kamis — long white traditional robes — climb the steps to Somcity Travel, a small family business and travel agency in Kisenyi slum, in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The agency boasts that they “fly all over the world” but to one destination in particular — Somalia.
As the Somali government plans to launch a new military campaign to wipe out the Islamic extremist group, Al-Shabaab, from its strongholds in this Horn of Africa nation, experts say that its Somalia’s innocent who live in areas controlled by the group who will suffer the most.
The explosion went off at 2:40 on a Sunday afternoon, on a tree-lined side street in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa. The area was a quiet one - home to foreign diplomats, domestic civil servants and several embassies - and the blast was strong enough to kill two men, startle the neighbours, and demolish a small home.
Attempts by clan elders and militia commanders in southern Somalia to form an autonomous state, without the consent of the central government but with the apparent backing of foreign countries, remains a dangerous, destabilising element in the region, say analysts.
Despite comments by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn suggesting the pending withdrawal of his country’s troops from Somalia, many experts have voiced doubts that Ethiopia will pull out of Somalia before it is capable of handling its security without assistance.
At 18, Farah Osman should not be a battle-hardened soldier. He should not have spent the last seven years fighting for the Somali Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab, or have been trained by foreign jihadists in handling and repairing weapons and improving his shooting skills.