Al-Qaeda started emerging in Somalia in the 1990s when some of the Somali fighters who had joined the anti-Soviet struggle in Afghanistan started returning home.
The returning Somali mujahidin helped to establish another militant Islamist movement called Al Ittihad Al Islamiya Arabic for “the Islamic Union” which started training al-Qaeda operatives.
Al Itihaad’s former commanders would later establish the militia known as Al-Shabaab.
According to a US Congressional report, Al-Qaeda’s initial interest in Somalia was to establish an alternative operations ba
Al-Qaeda operatives reportedly established training bases in Ras Kamboni, a Somali town near Kenya’s border, and other town, as well as in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
Reports suggest that Al Qaeda began planning for a large-scale terrorist attack against American targets in East Africa in 1993, scouting for “soft” targets and establishing a cell in Nairobi.
Bin Laden’s personal secretary, Wadih el Hage, and a Comorian citizen, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed were key members of the Nairobi cell.