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    Angry protesters gather near the scene of Saturday's massive truck bomb attack, near the presidential palace, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.

    Mogadishu Bombing: Al-Shabaab Is a 'Shadow Government' in Somalia

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    A truck bombing by al-Shabaab in Somalia on Saturday, the deadliest in years, killed 276 people, including five Red Crescent volunteers. Sputnik spoke to an Africa expert who said al-Shabaab filled a vacuum for many because the Somalian government was so weak.

    Two trucks packed with explosives blew up in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday, October 22, killing 276 people and injuring hundreds more.

    One truck bomb detonated in a crowded street in front of the Safari Hotel and then a second device went off in the same area. The latest death toll is 276 with more than 300 people injured.

    Edward Paice, Director of the Africa Research Institute, said nobody had officially claimed responsibility but most people believed al-Shabaab, an extreme Islamist group, was behind the attack.

    "To dismiss al-Shabaab as being just a bunch of disaffected youths or whatever is to completely miss the point," Mr. Paice told Sputnik.

    "Al-Shabaab was thriving because it was a 'comparatively attractive' alternative to the Somali government. There are very real grievances against the federal government, between clans, between regions and for many Somalis al-Shabaab is in effect a shadow government," Mr. Paice told Sputnik.

    "What the ultimate aim of the group ultimately is is anybody's guess. It is most likely to overthrow the federal government of the country," he added.

    "There are many Somalis living in areas all over the country for whom al-Shabaab is in effect the government and many people, as distasteful as it may sound, are receiving more from al-Shabaab in the way of services and security and so forth then they are from either the federal government of Somalia or indeed from their regional governments," he said.

    Somalia's Worst Terror Attack

    It is the deadliest terror attack in Somalia since al-Shabaab group launched its insurgency in 2007.

    Somalia was ruled for many years by the dictator Siad Barre, who maintained order and kept the country united, all be it with significant human rights abuses and corruption.

    Civilians carry the body of an unidentified man from the scene of an explosion in KM4 street in the Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia October 15, 2017
    © REUTERS / Feisal Omar
    Civilians carry the body of an unidentified man from the scene of an explosion in KM4 street in the Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia October 15, 2017

    ​But he was ousted in 1991 and the country gradually degenerated as rival clans clashed and went to war with each other.

    In recent years, al-Shabaab, who are allied with al-Qaeda, have been carrying deadly attacks against both military and civilian targets in the African state and even into neighboring Kenya.

    Troops from neighboring Ethiopia, for a time tried, to crush al-Shabaab, but were unsuccessful and the last Ethiopian soldier withdrew across the border in 2016.


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