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African Union sends more troops to Somalia but diplomacy also needed.
BOSTON — The Al Shabaab bombings that ripped through Kampala, Uganda, killing 76 people on July 11, profoundly changed the security situation, not just in Uganda but across the whole continent of Africa.
Before the explosions, the violent chaos of Somalia appeared to be removed from the surrounding states and sealed off from the rest of Africa.
Now, with their deadly suicide attacks, the Somali militant group Al Shabaab has shown it will reach into Africa to blast any government that challenges the Islamic extremism it seeks to entrench inside Somalia.
(Read about the African Union's decision to send more troops to Somalia.)
African countries that support the United Nations-backed transitional government of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, particularly those who provide troops for the African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu, are now threatened with suicide bombings like the ones that hit Kampala.
More coverage of Al Shabaab:
Al Shabaab has sent a deadly message that it will strike any other African country that gets in the way of its extremist agenda. As a result Africa is threatened with escalating tensions that could divide the continent between Muslim and Christian.
Of course, Somalia — which for nearly 20 years has defined the term failed state — has never been fully removed from the rest of Africa. There is considerable cross border economic activity between Somalia and Kenya, including the booming trade in khat, the leaves that Somalis chew as a stimulant.
And Somali refugees have spread across Africa reaching all the way down to Cape Town. So there is no corner of Africa that is beyond the reach of Al Shabaab.