Al-Qaeda’s involvement in Somalia is thought to have begun as early as 1992, shortly after the fall of dictator Siad Barre, a tumultuous time for Somalia with the beginning of state failure, civil war and United Nations intervention. Senior member of al-Qaeda are thought it have participated in training and fighting in the infamous Battle of Mogadishu depicted in the 2001 movie ‘Black Hawk Down’. But it wasn’t until the formation of Somalia’s homegrown terrorist network that the country became a hub for international terrorism.
Following the second Battle of Mogadishu, al-Shabab is thought to have splintered from the armed militia loyal to the Islamic Courts Union, a union of various regional Sharia courts that opposed Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government. The group has undergone several rifts, giving rise splinter groups and leadership assassinations, but has continued with a dedication to jihad, and sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012. The country's civil war over the years has seen this terror network thrive and build links with other African terror organisations such a Boko Haram, the growth of al-Shabab has seen Somalia descend into an international terrorist safe haven, further destabilising the country and indeed the region.