The White House has added Somalian Islamist militant group al-Shabab to the 2001 war authorization, which was originally pointed at al-Qaida but has expanded to Islamist organizations that have sprung up since the 9/11 attacks. The move widens the legal scope of the fight against al-Qaida and will give President-elect Donald Trump more leeway to fight militants in Somalia.
Al-Shabab militants in Somalia continue to recruit children, and the total number of child soldiers is estimated at 5,000, says UNICEF. Somali leaders are asked to prioritize children's rights, says UNICEF's Susannah Price.
Al-Shabab militants attacked Kenya's Garissa University College campus Thursday, about 120 miles from the Somali border. At least 147 people were killed in the attack and 79 wounded, with Christian students reportedly targeted.
Kenyan troops began an assault against members of Somali's al-Shabab organization who continued to hold hostages at a Nairobi shopping mall. The siege began Saturday when Islamist group attacked the mall, calling it retaliation for Kenya's actions in Somalia.
The first months of next year are critical to Somalia, observers say, as Somalis are looking for tangible proof that the installed government is better than al-Shabab militants routed from much of the country by African Union forces. Conditions are expected to continue deteriorating in Mali.