Somalia militants cosying up to al-Qaeda

New York - A new report to the UN Security Council says Somalia's al-Shabaab militants may be moving closer to al-Qaeda's "global ideology and agenda".

An advance copy of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report on Somalia obtained on Monday also says Ban is "extremely concerned about the loss of momentum" in the fight against the insurgents, who've long carried out attacks across the troubled East African country. He says al-Shabaab should not be allowed to recover and regroup from internal divisions.

The Islamic extremist group claimed responsibility for the September attack on a mall in Kenya that killed at least 67 people.

Ban's report also says Somalia is "making progress" toward national elections by 2016 but "the challenges of ... state-building are many."

Those include the long-running problem of hunger and a newer one, polio.

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