The U.S. launched airstrikes south of the capital, Mogadishu, in early September 2014, targeting the leader of the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, Ahmed Abdi Godane. Days after the attacks, the U.S. confirmed that Godane had been killed. One of the most wanted men in Africa, Godane was believed by officials to have planned and organized the mall attack in Nairobi in 2013. African Union and Somali troops have made significant progress over the past few years in dislodging al-Shabab from Mogadishu and other strongholds. Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah, a cousin of Godane, assumed leadership of the Shabab. In December, another U.S. airstrike killed al-Shabab"s intelligence chief, Tahlil Abdishakur. He oversaw the unit that organized suicide attacks in Somalia and Kenya. Tahlil had only been on the job for a few days, having replaced Zakariya Ahmed Ismail Hersi, who surrendered to government officials.
See also Encyclopedia: Somalia .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Somalia