Al-Shabaab, an Islamist terrorist group that has been plaguing Somalia since 2006, was named the most deadly terror group in Africa in 2017 by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). One tactic that al-Shabaab uses in its reign of terror is suicide bombing. Despite the rec-ognition of the seriousness of the threat that al-Shabaab’s suicide bombers pose, very little is known about how, when, and why al-Shabaab elects to employ the tactic of suicide bombings. This report attempts to answer these questions.By analyzing a unique dataset compiled by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point that tracks all instances of al-Shabaab suicide bombings between the group’s first suicide attack on September 18, 2006, to the end of our data collection in October 2017, we offer the most comprehensive account to date on the emergence, evolution, and efficacy on al-Shabaab’s suicide bombers. Following the introduction, the first section of this report elucidates the methodological choices employed to create the database…

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