Kenyan trainee doctors killed in raid on Libya Isis base

doctors jihadi

Two Kenyan trainee doctors on the police list of wanted terrorists have been killed in a sting operation in Libya.

Farah Dagane Hassan, 26 and Hiish Ahmed Ali, 25, who were interns at Kitale hospital before they fled Kenya, died in the Libyan city of Sirte after a raid against Islamic State remnants there.

Before the trainee doctors fled, investigations linked them to a terrorism network comprising young doctors that was planning biological weapon attacks in the country.

The plan was uncovered in April last year after one of the suspected masterminds, Mohammed Abdi Ali aka Abu Fidaa, also a doctor, was arrested.

He and his wife Nuseibah Mohammed, alias Ummu Fidaa, a medical student, are facing terrorism charges in court.

Police offered Sh4 million to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any of the young doctors on the list of most wanted terror suspects.

 

Investigations that followed unearthed that Isis in Syria had established an international terror network with agents in Kenya, Uganda, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Niger, Algeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Egypt.

The network relied on a human trafficking ring called the “Magafe network” for the transportation of recruits.

 

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Security agencies are now collaborating with their counterparts in other countries to better understand the terrorism organisation and other organised crime outfits involved in conventional crimes such as human trafficking, human organ harvesting, abduction and ransoms.

Investigations have so far established 10 routes used by the Magafe network to transport terror recruits from Kenya to Syria and Libya by sea, air or road.

One of the air routes flies them to the United Arab Emirates, then on to Syria.

Another one flies them to Lagos, then takes them on a road trip to neighbouring Niger, on to Algeria and then to Libya, ending with a sea journey through the Mediterranean Sea to Syria.

Another road takes them to Kampala, then to Juba in South Sudan after which they go north to Khartoum, on to Egypt and finally to Syria by sea.

The Ethiopian route takes them from Nairobi to Addis Ababa while the rest of the journey to Sudan and Egypt is by road. The recruits then cross the Mediterranean to reach Syria.

The trainee doctors studied medicine at Kampala International University in Uganda, where they were recruited

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POSTED TO KITALE

Hiish was brought up in Mansa village, Fafi constituency. He completed his medical studies in June, 2015, and registered with the Health ministry. He was then posted to the Kitale public hospital.

“According to his classmates, Hiish behaved normally and was very religious during his university years. He liked reading the Koran and did not like watching videos,” according to a government document.

Farah joined the university in September, 2010 and completed his studies in January, 2016, joining the hospital the following month in February.

The two travelled to Libya through the Kampala-Khartoum-route.

“On arrival, they joined the ranks of Isis and started recruiting individuals from Kenya. They lured young graduates with false promises of a new life, gainful employment with handsome pay and sometimes through false ideology,” said the report.

 

RECRUITS RESCUED

In the transnational operation by government agencies, the documents says, some of the Kenyan recruits were rescued and are being rehabilitated.

A young woman in her 20s, going under the pseudo name Fatma to protect her identity, told authorities how she was inducted and taken to Libya, where she joined a group of other women from Kenya, Somalia and Eritrea.

They travelled by bus to Kampala and then to Sudan during the 12-day trip in which they were joined by young men.

According to her, each had a different reason to travel; some were escaping harsh economic conditions in their countries while others felt they were fulfilling religious obligations.

They were all under the command of a man named Moha. Once in Libya, she was sold off to an Isis fighter with whom she lived for six months until he was killed in a drone strike.

 

PREGNANT AND STRANDED

Pregnant and stranded in a foreign country, she was rescued by an elderly woman who took her to a humanitarian aid agency, which flew her back to her family in Nairobi.

“Kama ningalipata mtu wa kunionya kuwa kwenda Libya sio jihadi pengine singepitia niliyo yapitia. Lakini namshukuru Allah kwa kunipitisha haya ili niweze kuwatahadharisha wengine” (If someone had warned me of what lay in store for me in Libya, I would not have travelled there, but I thank God for affording me this experience so that I can warn others),” a government document detailing her ordeal quotes her saying.

Mohamed A is another victim who survived the Magafe network and is being rehabilitated. At 32, he was not employed, though he is a university graduate.

He paid $2,000 (About Sh200,000) to a middle man who promised to smuggle him to Europe.

He left behind his family in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood and together with other illegal immigrants, left Nairobi in a transit container heading to Uganda.

“The meals were scarce. There were scabies outbreaks, women who were raped and given contraceptives were lumped together with men,” he told his minders after he was rescued.

In Libya, Mohammed was asked by the smugglers to pay an extra $7,000 (Sh700,000) through a hawala agent in Nairobi to a contact in Dubai.

“Unable to raise the amount from his family, Mohammed was tortured and abandoned by his smugglers in Sirte. He was later rescued by an aid agency working in Libya and reunited with his family four months ago,” says the report.

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Plan to ramp up Somalia anti-terror campaign goes to Trump

The country’s top national security officials are recommending that President Donald Trump ramp up operations against an al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, two US defense officials told CNN Friday.

Trump has not yet approved the proposal, according to one official, but the other official said that the stepped-up operations were due to begin soon. The move could lead to an increase in airstrikes and more US personnel engaging in advising local forces.
The National Security Council Principals Committee’s proposal would grant the US military more authority to conduct operations against the terror group al Shabaab in the East African country, according to the officials.
One defense official described the proposal, reviewed earlier in the week, as allowing Africa Command Commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser to authorize airstrikes in Somalia but not Special Operations Forces raids without receiving White House approval.
A spokesman for the White House’s NSC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“It’s very important and very helpful for us to have (a) little more flexibility, a little bit more timeliness, in terms of decision-making process,” Waldhauser told reporters at the Pentagon Friday when asked about the new Somalia-related authorities.
“It allows to prosecute targets in a more rapid fashion. So that obviously is something that we advocate for … if we were given that opportunity, given out those permissions and authorities will be very helpful to us,” he said, while adding that “the White House has not approved anything on this yet.”
Previous strikes have been permitted without prior authorization from the White House only when US Special Operations Forces on the ground were in danger, and otherwise have been approved only on a case-by-case basis.
“We’ve persistently seen al Shabaab’s ability to train and marshal large groups of individuals for attacks in addition to fairly consistent attacks inside Mogadishu,” a separate defense official told reporters Thursday, referring to the group as al Qaeda’s third-largest affiliate.
“It’s important that we stay after al Shabaab,” Waldhauser said, noting that the newly elected Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a dual US-Somali citizen, spurred a renewed focus on improving US-Somalia collaboration.
SOURCE:CNN.COM

Can Military Might Alone Defeat al-Shabaab?

Developing a “security pact” to tackle insurgent jihadists al-Shabaab, who continue to stifle state-building efforts, is one of the key agenda items at the upcoming high-level conference on Somalia scheduled for May this year in London. This complex challenge first depends on identifying what makes al-Shabaab such a resilient movement. Despite some success on the battlefield, this is an understanding that has largely escaped Somalia’s various security forces—and their international supporters—until now.

Donors such as the United Kingdom, European Union, and United States have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Somalia’s security services, including 1.8 billion euros pledged in September 2013 as part of the “New Deal Compact.” Yet al-Shabaab remains a potent force throughout most of the country. The London conference thus presents an opportunity to develop security architecture—and associated justice mechanisms—more in line with previous political progress in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab continues to demonstrate sophisticated organizational planning and execution of attacks. While the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali army have made significant military gains in liberating areas previously under the group’s control, this has brought little overall stability. This is largely because systems of governance and delivery of basic services to citizens have often failed to follow military operations. In addition, the retaking of major towns by AMISOM and government forces often leaves swaths of rural areas in the hands of al-Shabaab, which in turn shifts strategy to attacking main supply routes, rendering towns isolated. At the same time, the federal government has yet to establish a broad, predictable, and consistent policy framework of governance that appeals to communities.

Al-Shabaab remains a viable local actor for the provision of basic services and, in particular, security and justice. To date, national security forces have focused on force alone and have neglected building political consensus and legitimacy within communities they serve. They are thus yet to demonstrate their comparative value to al-Shabaab in many areas. At present, al-Shabaab presents itself as providing Somalia’s only effective justice system. It operates mobile courts that deal with cases swiftly and effectively. Most commonly, Somalis who have a land or property dispute turn to the group because they consider it likely to provide the most consistent and thorough response. This sort of parallel justice network exists across the country and even the capital Mogadishu.

As an extension of this informal justice system, al-Shabaab’s thrives off support from disgruntled clans or individuals, particularly along the Shabelle and Jubba rivers in southern Somalia. The group’s support doesn’t necessarily bring economic benefits, rather it provides self-defense from persecution and protection from manipulation by individual clans and predatory economic interests.

Despite its jihadist rhetoric, which locates Islam as the one and truly only identity, al-Shabaab relies more on Somalia’s traditional clan leadership system. Its own leadership in turn manipulates this system by duplicating it or forcing out traditional leaders when such systems fail to operate in favor of its ideological agenda. It often goes further, by delegitimizing, labeling as “apostates” and “anti-Islam,” those traditional elders who criticize the group. Routine assassinations are dealt out to elders deemed to have collaborated with the government or army.

These dynamics—and state authorities’ inability to adapt to them—are present in the ongoing battle to control Afgoye, 20 miles southwest of Mogadishu. Here, al-Shabaab has successfully exploited grievances directly linked to alleged human rights violations by members of the army, who, supported by AMISOM, regained control of Afgoye in May 2012.

In place of an effective strategy of winning local support, the army advanced certain clan interests over others in Afgoye. Notably, troops were implicated in allegations of torturing innocent civilians, or labeling them al-Shabaab collaborators and sympathizers. Al-Shabaab has since recaptured agricultural land confiscated by the armed forces and returned these to the local population. The result has been marginalized and minority communities becoming more receptive to the jihadists. While Afgoye remains under government control, regular attacks make it incredibly fragile and a constant flashpoint for AMISOM peacekeepers, who are now mired in a cycle of hit-and-run incidents.

A further divide between the ways in which the state and al-Shabaab operate can be found on the road from Afgoye into Mogadishu, which continues to suffer from insecurity. Multiple checkpoints now exist under army or other government control, in randomized locations and extorting inconsistent levels of “taxes” on every passing vehicle. When under al-Shabaab control, there were three such checkpoints, in consistent locations, charging a set tax. In contrast with the current system, the group also provided a receipt when the tax was paid, which could be shown at each subsequent checkpoint, allowing safe passage.

Understanding the enduring appeal of al-Shabaab—and the failure of state authorities to counter, or even prevent their activities from aiding it—will be key to forming a new security pact for Somalia. The current national army will necessarily be just one component of a comprehensive agreement in this respect. At present it remains a loose coalition of powerful clan militias that were once the persecutors of marginalized communities across the country. The widespread perception is that the army operates for the interests of the Mogadishu elite and the clan militias that form it.

To thoroughly weaken and ultimately defeat al-Shabaab, an inclusive security architecture must be developed over the next few years, focusing not just on military strategy but broader accommodation of political and social dynamics. This will need to be done through a consensus-based approach among Somali stakeholders.

In the absence of an endorsed national constitution, the newly appointed Somali government may consider prioritizing the establishment of a specialized judiciary body responsible for the adjudication and arbitration of land and property disputes. This could eliminate the gap between justice and injustice in which al-Shabaab often inserts itself.

Somali legal experts, lawyers, and judges, along with elders with the relevant customary and contextual insight, could be employed to address clan grievances and the myriad land and property disputes across the country. If the new government is able to demonstrate inclusive, effective, and fair judicial recourse for the average citizen, al-Shabaab is likely to gradually lose its relevance and consequently its strength on the battlefield.

Mustafa Bananay is a Senior Analyst at Sahan Research, Mogadishu

Twitter removes hundreds of thousands of terror accounts

BRITAIN-INTERNET-COMPANY-TWITTER

Twitter has revealed it removed 376,890 accounts promoting terrorism between July and the end of December 2016 – and that the majority were removed by automated technology.

A total of 636,248 accounts have been removed since 1 August 2015, according to the company’s latest transparency report.

Seventy-four percent were identified by proprietary Twitter technology, which automatically scans accounts.

Only 2% were removed after requests by governments.

The technology is an extension of Twitter’s own anti-spam technology, which analyses how an account behaves, rather than what it posts. Accounts promoting terrorism exhibit “distinctive behaviour”.

The report comes as social media companies come under increased scrutiny over how they police their platforms.

Last week, MPs attacked Twitter, Facebook and Google for failing to do enough to tackle online extremism and hate crimes.

Yvette Cooper MP, chair of the influential home affairs committee, said the companies had “a terrible reputation” for failing to act on hate speech and other offensive material.

Google has come under pressure as big brands, including BMW and McDonald’s UK, suspend advertising on its YouTube platform after adverts appeared next to hate speech videos.

Google apologised, with chief business officer Philipp Schindler writing in a blog post: “So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.”

 

Source:Sky news

 

New African Union chief visits Somalia

AU chied

New African Union (AU) Commission chief discussed the challenges facing Somalia including security and the drought during his visit to that country Saturday.

Mousa Faki Mahamat, who officially assumed his post on Tuesday, met with Somali president and prime minister, and pledged to stand with new Somali government in fighting against al-Shabaab and avert the looming famine.

Somali president and AU chairperson discussed the challenges facing Somalia including security and the drought which hit at least 11 regions, said Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in a statement after the meeting.

The drought in Somalia caused waterborne diseases such as cholera which killed at least 80 people in Qasahdere, a district in southwestern region of Bay, in the last 3 days, Abdi Aadan, the district commissioner, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

“The AU Chairperson’s visit comes at a time when Somalia –with the support of AMISOM– has made tremendous progress towards peace and security. He paid tribute to the Somali and AMISOM troops who have lost their lives in pursuit of peace and security in Somalia,” said African Union Mission in Somalia which also released a statement after the meeting.

Over 22,000 strong forces from African Union are in Somalia fighting against al-Qaeda affiliated group of al-Shabaab since the mission was established in 2007.

Uganda police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi shot dead

uganda police spokesperson

 

 

 

Uganda Police Spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi have been shot dead.

Assistant Inspector-General Kaweesi and two other police officers were killed on Friday by unknown assailants about 100 metres from his home in Kulambiro, Nakawa Division, Kampala.

3 OFFICERS

Presidential Press Secretary Linda Nabusayi confirmed the incident to the Daily Monitor, a member of the Nation Media Group stable.

“It is true and it’s so sad,” Ms Nabusayi said when asked to confirm whether Mr Kaweesi was one of the three police officers killed in the Friday morning shooting.

It is not yet clear how Kaweesi was killed but Inspector-General of Police Kale Kayihura and other senior security officers have rushed to the scene to ascertain what could have happened.

TAINTED IMAGE

Kaweesi, who also held the position of director human resource, was in August 2016 appointed by IGP Kayihura the special police spokesman as the force attempted to repair its image tainted by a string of brutality case and public relations nightmares.

Mr Kaweesi, whom Gen Kayihura had earlier removed from the Kampala Metropolitan Police command and later from the Directorate of Operations for being “in the media too often”, had been tasked to reclaim the force’s lost public trust.

Kayihura is expected to address the media on the incident.

Source:Daily Nation

Nairobi woman charged with managing terrorist’s property

old grandmother

 

An 60-year-old woman has been charged in a Nairobi court with collecting rent from a property developed by a suspected member of Al Shabaab and wiring the money to Kismayu, Somalia.

Rose Awinja Ondumu denied two charges of dealing with property owned by a terrorist and collecting of funds for the benefit of terrorists.

Awinja denied that in a span of four years at Umoja Estate Nairobi within Nairobi County, she knowingly dealt directly with a property owned by Mr Anwar Yogan Mwok, a member of Al- Shabaab.

The prosecution said the house is located at Nasra Gardens Estate plot number 157/826 Zone B within Umoja II.

The property neighbours Mama Lucy Hospital.

It is built on a property that is subject of a case that has been pending in court for the last 45 years.

The dispute of ownership of some 818 acres worth Sh5 billion pits Kiambu Dandora Farmers Company Limited and Dandora Housing Schemes Limited (DHSL).

DHSL has been battling to repossess the land, which it claims has been grabbed by powerful people.

This is the land where Nasra Gardens Estate has been developed, Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi heard.

The second charge stated that she has been collecting funds for the benefit of a terrorist contrary to Section 5 (b) of the prevention of terrorism Act 2012.

She denied that on December 1, 2013 and March 15, 2017 at Umoja Estate she collected house rent knowing that such funds would be used to benefit Mr Mwok.

Awinja applied to be released on bond saying she is sickly and that she is on medication.

She was freed on Sh500,000 bond. The case will be heard on April 18.

 

SOURCE:DailyNation