Kenya: Garissa Attack Shows Al-Shabaab’s Weakness, Not Strength

Chris McKeon

Al-Shabaab has been catapulted back into international headlines with its attack on Kenya’s Garissa University, which killed 148 students and drew promises of strong action from President Uhuru Kenyatta. The event has drawn comparisons with al-Shabaab’s 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi and is part of the group’s campaign of reprisals against Kenya for the country’s military action in Somalia. However, the timing, location and nature of the Garissa attack suggest that al-Shabaab has been severely weakened by recent developments in Somalia.

A Kenya Defence Force soldier stands guard in Garissa. A Kenya Defence Force soldier stands guard in Garissa.

Amid the headlines, it is easy to forget that this is the first major attack – and almost the first attack full stop – which al-Shabaab has conducted in Kenya this year. The end of 2014 saw escalating violence in the country’s north-east, for instance with the murder of over 60 people in two weeks by al-Shabaab…

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