Key events in Somalia since the Islamist Shebab militia was expelled from the capital in 2011:
– August: Most of the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab fighters pull out of the capital in the face of an offensive by troops of the African Union force. Famine is widespread in Mogadishu and many other parts of Somalia.
– October 4: A suicide bomb attack on buildings of the Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu kills at least 82 people.
– February 8: A suicide attack claimed by the Shebab kills 15 people in Mogadishu.
– February 22: Ethiopian troops and forces of the transitional government take the central town of Baidoa from the Shebab.
– May: The militia are expelled from the strategic town of Afgoye, near the capital.
– August 20: A new parliament for Somalia is sworn in, but the ceremony takes place at Mogadishu’s airport because the assembly building in the city is deemed too dangerous.
– August 27: Pro-government forces take the southern port of Marka, which the Shebab have held since 2008.
– September 10: Members of the new parliament elect Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president. Two days later, he narrowly escapes death in a Shebab suicide attack that kills three soldiers.
– September 20: A new attack claimed by the Shebab kills 18 people in Mogadishu.
– September 22: A member of parliament is assassinated by the Shebab, who announce they intend to kill all his colleagues “one by one”.
– September 29: Shebab abandon their last bastion in Somalia, retreating from Kismayo.
– November 6 Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video message urges “every Muslim” to support Somalia’s Shebab insurgents.
– December 4: Shebab militants kill at least 10 soldiers in the northern Puntland region.
– December 9: African Union troops and Somali forces seize the town of Jowhar, wresting control of one of the largest remaining towns held by the Shebab.
– January 12: An operation to free a French intelligence agent, held hostage by the Shebab since 2009, fails, leaving at least eight civilians dead. The agent is later determined to have been killed by his captors.
– January 17: US President Barack Obama meets Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and urges him to “turn the page on two decades of civil strife”.
– January 29: Shebab insurgents claim a suicide attack near the prime minister’s office in Mogadishu, killing at least six people.
– February 11: Four people die in a suicide car bomb attack aimed at a senior police officer in Somalia’s central Galkayo region.
– March 1: At leat three people die in twin blasts at a Mogadishu restaurant.
– March 17: Shebab fighters retake the key southern town of Hudur.
– March 18: At least 10 people are killed in by a car bomb in Mogadishu in an attack claimed by the Shebab.
– April 2: African Union and Somali government forces open a key route after months of fighting, reaching the former Shebab stronghold of Baidoa by road for the first time.
– April 14: At least 29 civilians are killed when gunmen storm Mogadishu’s main court complex in an attack claimed by the Shebab. Five more people die in a separate car bomb attack.
Xafiiska Wararka Midnimo, firstname.lastname@example.org