Islamic Extremists Keeping Somalia in Turmoil

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The troubled African nation of Somalia is once again at risk of falling into the hands of Islamic extremists.

African Union peacekeepers along with a small Somali government force are on the frontlines of a battle to try and save Mogadishu, Somalia, from falling to the al Qaeda backed group called al Shabaab, which means "The Youth."

By all accounts, the terrorist group is winning.  Al Shabaab now controls 75 percent of Mogadishu.

The presidential palace is under heavy guard and endures regular mortar attacks.  President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed is rarely able to leave. 

"The government is conscious of the situation," he said.  "This is a young government with very limited financial means."

Two French security agents were taken from a hotel last week. Al Shabab has also beheaded at least seven Christians.  The group accused the Christians of "spying" and "abandoning Islam."

Some are calling for more African Union troops with a broader mandate. Right now, they only protect the government and its troops.

Yet, there is no longer any peace for the peacekeepers to keep, and that has their commander frustrated.

"I don't think we can sit and watch as opposition groups are building up and  wait until they're attacking all around you," said Gen. Francis Okello Amisom.

It has rapidly become a proxy war, with American arms pouring in to support the government and Arab and Paksitani jihadists fighting with al Shabaab.

Somalia has not had a functioning government for 18 years, and now al Shabab has brought Islamic Sharia law and even more to the country.

*Originally published July 22, 2009

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A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.