KDF strategies in fighting Shabaab have worked – Uhuru

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President Uhuru Kenyatta, accompanied by Chief of KDF Gen Samson Mwathethe during a recruits’ passing out Parade at the Recruits Training School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on February 08, 2018. He praised the KDF war on Al-Shabaab.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has praised the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) for their strategies in fighting Al-Shabaab, saying they have borne fruit after the terror group failed to carry out any major attack in the country over the last two years.

He said the troops in Somalia and those deployed to Boni Forest in Lamu County had been able neutralise the terrorist group’s plans in Kenya and in the region.

Speaking during the passing-out parade at the military Recruits Training School in Eldoret, the President said KDF’s presence in the two places has made the country safer.

PROTECT KENYANS

“Our engagements have indeed degraded Al-Shabaab’s ability to attack in Kenya and elsewhere,” he said.

He said he is keen on protecting Kenya from any aggression by the group.

“Part of my duty as the commander-in-chief is protection of Kenyans and preservation of Kenya’s integrity under the Constitution that is why I continue to laud the efforts of the Kenya Defence Forces in their fight against terrorism in Somalia and closer to home as part of the multi-agency force currently in Boni Forest,” he added.

Kenya sent its troops to Somalia in 2011 following persistent attacks and kidnappings by Al-Shabaab militants.

SHABAAB ATTACKS

Since then the group has successfully carried occasional attacks in Kenya although most have been restricted to counties bordering Somalia, the last being at Garissa University College in 2015 where 148 people were killed by gunmen linked to the militants.

The last major attack outside north eastern was at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September 2013 when its members shot at customers killing dozens.

In 2017, the government deployed troops to Boni Forest to flush out a faction of the terror group that was said to have relocated there after being kicked out of Somalia.

While speaking in Eldoret, the President said efforts of those who have fought in defence of the country would not be forgotten.

BRAVE SOLDIERS

“When this entire region is finally at peace, it will be because the men and women of this service fought bravely for peace, for prosperity and for freedom and equality under law,” said the President.

Mr Kenyatta also paid tribute to those who have died in Somalia saying they paid the ultimate price while defending fellow Kenyans.

“I stand here today to say that these sons and daughters of Kenya have not fallen in vain.  Their sacrifice for our freedom strengthens our resolve to fight the enemy and to destroy him once and for all,” said the President.

SYMBOL OF NATIONHOOD

The Head of State pointed out that KDF remains a symbol of the country’s nationhood and a leading example of its unity.

He said the force’s unity and cohesion stand as proof of the greatness that can be achieved when all Kenyans live in harmony.

President Kenyatta therefore urged all Kenyans to emulate the example of the country’s forces who serve the country selflessly and diligently.

“Its members are drawn from every community, every region and every religion of this nation,” said the President.

Present were the Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, Chief of Defence Forces Gen Samson Mwathethe, service commanders and other senior military and government officers.

Source: Daily Nation

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Hiraan Man Killed While Planting IED

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A man died in Beledweyne in the central Somalia region of Hiraan on Monday night after a landmine he was planting on the road exploded

The unidentified man was planting the explosive at the road linking Ugas Khalif Airport to Beledweyne town.

The Governor of Hiraan region Ali Jeyte Osman told reporters that preliminary investigation had indicated the man had planned to kill and maim innocent civilians.

Mr Osman and Hiraan region’s NISA commander Abdikadir Mohamud displayed the deceased’s dead body to the media.

Governor Osman called on the security agencies to take action against any party causing insecurity in the region.

Source: Radio Dalsan

Somali military court hands down death and prison terms to Zoope truckbomb suspects

One Alshabab suspect was today sentenced to death while passing a 3 year jail term to another while one was sentenced in absentia to a life imprisonment during a military court ruling which saw 2 others got back their liberty.

The suspect reaching 5 in number were arrested shortly after the deadly truckbomb explosion on the 14th October 2017 around Zoope junction, Mogadishu which killed more than 500 people and injured many more.

Hassan Isak Ali who was accused of being Alshabab member was sentenced to death. The Court said he was solely responsible on the twin attacks on the 14th October especially driving the partially exploded car in Danwadaag Street towards Halane Gate.

Second suspect Abdiweli Ahmed Diriye was sentenced to 3 years in military prison.

Third suspect Ali Ibrahim Absuge who was absent from the court was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia while Mohamud Hassan roble and Abdul Ali Warsame Ali were found innocent by the military court and released.

14th October Zoope truckbomb attack was the largest devastating attack in living memory which took palce in a busy junction at around 3pm rush hour time killing over 500 people and injured many more with thousands of millions worth of properties and buildings destroyed.

Source: Goobjoog News

Save our children from radicalization, Marsabit parents tell state, blame five Sheikhs

Parents in Marsabit have decried the high rate of youths being recruited to join the al Shabaab.

They said a good number of their children have disappeared without a trace and are suspected to have joined al Shabaab.

They have blamed five Sheikhs for being involved in radicalising the youths into terrorism.

“Since these Sheikhs began their teachings herein Marsabit, we have noted a negative change in the behaviour of our youth, especially those attending the private Madrassa of these specific Sheikhs. The youth have become unruly, some have left school claiming that Western civilization is against the religion and all they talk about is hijra (going to Somalia to fight),” complained one parent.

They said the sheikhs hide under the pretext of teaching the youths solemn Islamic principles.

A parent at Taqwa Integrated School who sought anonymity said most of the radical Sheikhs also visit schools over the weekends where they lecture students on radical ideologies.

He said the Sheikhs are granted access through the assistance of the Islamic Religious Education (IRE) teachers at the respective schools.

Last week, the government said it has a list of 35 youth from Mandera who had been recruited by Al-Shabaab to aid the Somali-based terror group in carrying out attacks in Kenya.

North Eastern Regional Commissioner Mohamud Saleh said the individuals were well known to the locals.

He said the individuals have families in Kenya and have been crossing over from Somalia to meet to their families before sneaking back to Somalia.

Saleh warned that unless the locals collaborated with the government in exposing the militants, the war on terrorism was far from over.

“Unless you leaders come out and take the lead in restoring and maintaining security in Mandera, the region will never recover from insecurity,” Saleh told peace committee elders from six sub-counties of Mandera County on January 28.

Some parents said their daughters have also opted to join the outlawed group to be married off as jihadi brides.

So far, one of the suspected radical sheikhs Guyo Gorsa has been arrested.

Gorsa has reportedly been using his status as the presiding Imam for Tawba Mosque and a madrasa teacher at Taqwa Integrated School to radicalize unsuspecting youth into al Shabaab.

He is also accused of sexually harassing some of his female recruits.

“He impregnated my daughter last year and when I confronted him, he denied. My daughter has since disappeared. She told me she was going to see a friend in the nearby village and she never returned. I suspect Guyo has something to do with her disappearance,” a parent complained.

Investigations revealed that Guyo started engaging in recruitment activities since early 2008.

Source: The Star

60 returnees recount pain at the hands of Al Shabaab

Ciku*** (not her real name ) began her arduous journey to an Al Shabaab camp hoping to find acceptance after false belief that her parents didn’t like her. Her quest for attention from parents she thought treated her like a black sheep led her to a Facebook page “A place to belong” with images of physically fit women holding guns. She was attracted by regular messages of self actualisation and liberation which represented what she thought she really needed to have. Ciku was lured by a woman and taken to Somalia where she was turned into a sex slave. Ahmed and Ali had been made to believe they were going to help their Muslim brothers in the Jihad war only to be put on the front line during battle. The duo who hail from Kwale County, joined Al Shabaab in December 2014 after being recruited by their cousin. An intelligence report by security agencies on the operation against Al Shabaab terror reveals that some returnees are helping the government counter the insurgents.
More than 60 Al Shabaab returnees including former university students are undergoing rehabilitation at undisclosed camps after surrendering to Kenyan security agents. Most of the returnees fled their homes with the hope of a better life only to be turned into sex slaves and combatants by the militants.

They are undergoing intensive psychological and medical support before they are finally reunited with their families and reintegrated back into the society. “At this point, most of the returnees do not want to face their parents because they are burdened with guilt, so this rehabilitation process that cannot be rushed and has to wait until when they are ready. There is great need for creating awareness about the real situation these girls encounter in the hands of the terrorists. The false Jihad and revolution narrative is a myth that needs to be demystified before we loose more of these girls,” a counsellor at the rehabilitation centre says. At least 54 university students abandoned their studies to join terrorist groups in Somalia, Libya and Syria in 2016 and 2017. Some have been lucky to escape while other Kenyan youths who joined ISIS in Libya or Syria and al Shabaab in Somalia have been killed in counter-terrorism operations by security officers. The report further says that sustained counter-terrorism efforts involving various security agencies in the country have disrupted terrorist plots through arrests and prosecution of suspects. They have also managed to infiltrate and disrupt of terror cells in parts of the country. The report further shows that terrorists have exploited social media and other platforms like Whatsapp to lure university students. “Through various portals put up by Al Shabaab, ISIS among other terror groups, propaganda is easily disseminated into the hands of students and readily shared among their peers through user-friendly platforms like WhatsApp.”

Students are also recruited by family members, radicalised through extremists and radical religious leaders while some voluntarily join terror groups. However, there has been a decline of students joining these groups in 2017 with only 14 recorded compared to 44 in 2015 and 2016. This has been attributed to counter terrorism strategies and initiatives by the Kenyan government, Non-Governmental Organisations an religious organisations. “Following the shocking numbers of recruited students from the previous years, intentional counter-terrorism efforts were initiated by the government that geared towards close working relations between the security agencies and the public. This relationship has greatly improved the voluntarily sharing of information by the public with security personnel. This has helped us save,’’ said a security officer. The report raised concern about the country’s future with the continued recruitment of youth into terrorism. Among the known university students recruited into terrorism is Moi University’s Jared Mokaya Omambia, who was executed by Al Shabaab militants in 2016 on spying charges. Many others have however been killed by Amisom and US forces in Somalia and Libya. Former Kitale hospital interns Farah Dagane Hassan, 26 and Hiish Ahmed Ali, 25 were killed in US airstrike on an ISIS camp in Libya. Slain terrorist Abdirahim Abdullahi, a law graduate from Nairobi University student was in 2015 killed by security agents during the Garissa University College terror attack. In May last year, three Kenyans – Adan Mohamed Sheikh, Said Ahmed Dabow, Mohamed Abdi Mohamed – and a Somali, Abdiqan Abdishakur Shobay, suspected to have been traveling to join ISIS in Libya, were arrested in Juba. In June 2017 police arrested five youths from Isiolo enroute to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab. However, the counter-offensive operations against the militia group by Amisom, the Somali National Army, and the American military is eroding the appeal and attraction the group had among foreign fighters. In the last three months US and KDF airstrikes have been successful in targeting active Shabaab camps inside Somalia. Kenyan fighters have also borne the wrath of Al-Shabaab executions within its ranks, for allegedly spying for KDF in Somalia.
Source: The Standard