WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) yesterday introduced NDAA Amendment #2318, legislation that requests a classified, joint intelligence assessment from the Departments of State and Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to evaluate the threat of Al Shabab to the United States and U.S. citizens in the Horn of Africa. The assessment calls on these federal agencies to address critical national security concerns, such as funding sources for Al Shabab, potential connections to other terrorist organization like Al Qaeda and the extent to which Al Shabab threatens stability within Somalia.
“As Al Shabab attempts to seek resources and recruits within the United States and successfully carried out an attack on civilians in Kenya, it’s imperative that we adequately assess the risk this U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization poses both domestically and to Americans serving in the region,” Sen. Moran said.
Soldiers from Kansas’ Fort Riley deployed in the Horn of Africa are the first Regionally Aligned Brigade (RAB) in the Army with a specialized mission set of operations and theater security cooperation. Recent studies or reports on Al Shabab are currently lacking, necessitating the need for an assessment from the Departments of State and Defense and the Director of National Intelligence.
Al Shabab was listed by the U.S. government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2008. The group claimed responsibility for the September 2013 terrorist attack on Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya that left at least 61 civilians and six Kenyan soldiers dead. Al Shabab also claimed responsibility for suicide bombing in Kampala, Uganda, in July 2010 that killed more than 70 people.
The group is behind numerous attacks inside of Somalia and is engaged in a number of illicit activities that fund terror including smuggling, extortion, kidnapped civilians, and stealing from Islamic charities. Al Shabab is believed to be securing funding from international sources, including donors in the United States.