Yasin Kilwe is al-Shabaab’s emir for Puntland, in northern Somalia. As the leader of the Galgala Hills militia in the Golis mountains, Kilwe pledged allegiance to al-Shabaab and al-Qaida in a recorded statement publicized by an al-Shabaab-controlled radio station in late February 2012. Al-Shabaab emir Ahmed Abdi aw-Godane officially appointed Kilwe al-Shabaab’s leader in the region. Kilwe is from the Dubays clan, a subclan of Warsangali. He has been accused of planning attacks targeting Puntland security officials.
Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts that took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Al-Shabaab has continued its violent insurgency in southern and central Somalia. The group has claimed responsibility for many bombings—including various types of suicide attacks—in Mogadishu and in central and northern Somalia, typically targeting Somali Government officials and perceived allies of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. Al-Shabaab was likely responsible for a wave of five coordinated suicide car bombings in October 2008 that simultaneously hit targets in two cities in northern Somalia, killing at least 26 people and injuring 29 others. Al-Shabaab was responsible for the twin suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, on July 11, 2010, which killed more than 70 people, including one American. The group is responsible for the assassination of Somali peace activists, international aid workers, numerous civil society figures, and journalists. In February 2012, al-Shabaab and al-Qaida announced their formal alliance.
The U.S. Department of State named al-Shabaab a Foreign Terrorist Organization under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (as amended) on February 26, 2008, and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224 on February 29, 2008.