The group's fighters have been withdrawing from a number of areas they have controlled in the southern part of Somalia.

That is a result of a combined military operation called "Operation Indian Ocean" carried out by government forces and African Union troops more than a month ago.

The 22,000-strong African Union force was deployed in 2007, with most of its troops coming from Uganda and Burundi.

Al-Shabab, which imposes a strict form of Islamic law in areas it controls, seeks to overthrow the Somali government. The group was forced out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011 but still stages frequent attacks on the city.

With the latest developments, can al-Shabab be defeated and kicked out of Somalia? Or is it just regrouping for counter attacks?

Presenter: Mike Hanna


Abdi Aynte - director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Stig Jarle Hansen - an associate professor of International Relations at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

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