Take the time to listen to it all–what an incredible story (Hat tip:EH).
Category : Somalia
In the small hours of December 2nd gunmen snuck up on a group of sleeping quarry workers in Mandera country, close to Kenya’s border with Somalia. They were rounded up and made to lie face-down on the ground. Thirty-four of the men, who make a pitiful living mining and breaking stones, were executed with a bullet to the head; two were beheaded; all were non-Muslims.
Ten days earlier in the same remote part of Kenya gunmen flagged down an early-morning bus. Each passenger was asked to recite a verse from the Koran and to respond to a Muslim greeting. Those who failed were shot in the head. Twenty-eight people, many of them teachers going home for the Christmas holidays, were killed.
Did the masterminds of the Westgate terror escape within an hour of launching the attack? Could the terrorists who remained behind to continue the senseless killing and repulse security forces also slip away unnoticed?
And what is the fate of the hostages thought to have been held in the siege? What about the destruction of the mall, did the military bomb it? And who looted the shops?
These are some of the hard questions that Kenyans are seeking answers to as sources reveal new accounts that have not been formally released by the government, further intensifying the mystery that surrounds the four-day siege.
Leaders of the nation’s largest Somali community say some of their young men are still being enticed to join the terror group that has claimed responsibility for the deadly mall attack in Kenya, despite a concentrated effort to shut off what authorities call a “deadly pipeline” of men and money.
Six years have passed since Somali-American fighters began leaving Minnesota to become part of al-Shabab. Now the Somali community is dismayed over reports that a few of its own might have been involved in the violence at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
“One thing I know is the fear is growing,” said Abdirizak Bihi, whose nephew was among at least six men from Minnesota who have died in Somalia. More are presumed dead.
if the initial reports of the investigation into the latest atrocity are anything to go by, taking retaliatory action against the culprits will not be as straightforward as it was back in the Nineties.
Al-Qaeda has come a long way since its early days, when groups of fanatical jihadi fighters hatched desperate plots to attack the West from remote caves hidden away in the Hindu Kush. These days, as the Kenyan authorities are discovering, al-Qaeda has developed into a truly global brand, a multinational terror force that is just as capable of drawing recruits from the prosperous mid-West of the United States as the slums of downtown Mogadishu.
While al-Shabaab (“the youth”), the Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliate, has claimed responsibility for the shopping mall atrocity, Kenyan investigators have been alarmed to discover the cosmopolitan character of those involved in the killings. Apart from the Somalis who took part, the 15 terrorists who stormed the mall at noon last Saturday are said to have included extremists from the US, Britain, Canada, Sweden, Syria, Finland, Russia, Dagestan and Kenya.
Read it all from Con Coughlin.
Omar Hammami grew up in the small of town of Daphne, Ala., but ended up in southern Somalia on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list. Last week, Hammami was reportedly killed by members of al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group, after a falling out with its leadership.
He was known for rapping in an al-Shabab and was the subject of an in The New York Times Magazine. He also went by the name of Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, or “the American.”
Gunfire and explosions were heard at a shopping mall in Kenya’s capital early Monday as a hostage standoff which has left at least 68 people dead entered its third day.
The FBI said it was investigating reports that as many as five Americans were among the group of al Qaeda-linked terrorists who raided the Westgate mall in Nairobi on Saturday.
A spokesman for the Somali militant group al-Shabab is threatening Kenya with suicide attacks like those that killed 76 people in Uganda last year.
Al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage told a news conference in Mogadishu on Monday that Kenya must pull its troops out of Somalia. Lines of Kenyan troops poured into Somalia over the weekend. Kenyan officials say the country has the right to defend itself from Somalia’s most powerful militant group.
The crisis is deepening for some of the 13m East Africans worst-hit by one of the most devastating droughts in 60 years, aid agencies have warned.
World Food Day is being marked nearly three months since the UN declared a famine in parts of the Horn of Africa.
But people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the newly-formed Republic of South Sudan remain in desperate need of food, water and emergency healthcare.
The Vatican is calling particular attention to the dire circumstances of the peoples of the Horn of Africa, in particular Somalia, who have been facing a severe drought and food crisis since July.
The press office published an informative noted on the “Efforts and Commitment of the Catholic Church in the Horn of Africa,” which is issued in conjunction with a press conference held today by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum on the plight of several East African countries.
Presented in a question-and-answer format, the note summarized the situation in countries such as Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia: “A severe drought, conflict and lack of governments have led to massive numbers of people going hungry.
“Every day we are seeing more and more heartbreaking news about the drought and famine in Somalia and the eastern parts of Africa. We see millions of people being forced from their homes, leaving behind what meager possessions they had, and walking for days over rough terrain,” wrote Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Kicanas.
“There are parents whose little children have died, and children who have been orphaned. They are suffering from hunger, thirst, disease, and drought,” they said. “It is a humanitarian crisis that cries out for help to Christians throughout the world. The Holy Father, on several occasions, has asked Catholics to respond generously to the desperate needs of our brothers and sisters in East Africa.”
God, our refuge and strength,
we pray for the people of Somalia and the Horn of Africa
as they face drought, famine and hardship.
Bring near the day when wars shall cease
and poverty and pain shall end,
that earth may know the peace of heaven
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
– It took 32 days for Fatima Mohammed to make it from her drought-racked farm in Somalia to the relative safety of a sprawling refugee settlement in northeastern Kenya. There were days, she recalled, when her children were so thirsty that they could not walk and the men in her family would ferry them ahead, returning to carry two more children in their arms.
Fatima Mohammed told Catholic News Service that her family had lived through drought before, but that support from aid agencies helped them survive until the rains returned.
“This time, al-Shabaab won’t let them in,” she said, referring to the Islamist group that controls portions of Somalia. “So when our animals started dying, our only choice was to stay and die ourselves, or else start walking for Kenya.”
The Shabab Islamist insurgent group, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape Shabab territory.
The group is widely blamed for causing a famine in Somalia by forcing out many Western aid organizations, depriving drought victims of desperately needed food. The situation is growing bleaker by the day, with tens of thousands of Somalis already dead and more than 500,000 children on the brink of starvation.
Every morning, emaciated parents with emaciated children stagger into Banadir Hospital, a shell of a building with floors that stink of diesel fuel because that is all the nurses have to fight off the flies. Babies are dying because of the lack of equipment and medicine. Some get hooked up to adult-size intravenous drips ”” pediatric versions are hard to find ”” and their compromised bodies cannot handle the volume of fluid.
The US has said it will send aid to famine-hit areas of Somalia controlled by the Islamist group al-Shabab.
But US aid officials say assurances must be given that the insurgents will not interfere with its distribution.
The US considers al-Shabab a terrorist group and last year stopped aid to the large area of Somalia it controls.