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On the 16th of October last year, Kenya in a unilateral move launched a military offensive into Southern Somalia, in a press conference held in Nairobi by internal security minister Prof George Saitoti and his counterpart defence minister Yusuf Mohammed Haji ,it was declared Kenya’s intention to mount an incursion in to Somalia , to set up a buffer zone between it and territories controlled by Harakat Al-shabaab Al-mujahideen (HSM) Islamist militia, which controls the majority of central and south Somalia, and to also pursue kidnappers that Kenya asserts as having been sent by the Islamist group.
In response HSM chief spokesman Sheikh ‘ali mahamuud raage AKA Sh.ali dheere and other senior leaders vehemently denied Kenyan allegations of cross border kidnappings and called on supporters to carry out revenge attacks inside Kenya.
Since then, far from eliminating or even mitigating serious down turn in its tourism economy and increase of threats to its security, there have been a sharp rise in attacks and threats emanating from within the country, from HSM sympathisers and operatives alike, with the former carrying out lone wolf grenade attacks on soft targets such as nightclubs and bus stands.
Increasingly also, we have been witnessing a rise in attacks against Kenyan security personnel, with insurgent tactics employed such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and for that an operative would have almost certainly undergone at the very least basic training in bomb making; anecdotal evidence perhaps that Islamist rebels did infiltrated communities living near the border and IDP camps of Dadaab.
Kenyan security forces reacting to attacks have been brutal towards civilians near the Somalia border to say the least, describing the abuses Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported recently that;
“The Kenyan police and military have been responsible for a growing number of serious abuses against civilians since the Kenya Defence Forces entered southern Somalia in October, with the stated aim of eliminating al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia. The same month, suspected al-Shabaab sympathizers initiated a series of attacks against police, military, and civilian targets in Kenya.
In response, members of the security forces have been responsible for rape, beatings, looting, and arbitrary arrests of civilians. The crackdown has largely targeted Somali refugees and Kenyan ethnic Somalis, but residents of other ethnic backgrounds in North Eastern province have also been victimized.”
possibly attributable to a combination of heightened state of security and support from US and UK intelligence and security services, Kenyan anti-terror police unit (ATPU) have been more frequently since the incursion, apprehending foreigners holding western passports it accuses of either attempting to join HSM across the border or planning to carrying out al Qaeda style attacks on behalf of the Islamist rebels.
All this coincides with the rise of a shadowy group of Al Shabaab proxies in Kenya, namely The Muslim Youth Council (MYC) more commonly known as the Pumwani Muslim Youth(PMY) ,described in the UN monitoring group report on Somalia as having;
“developed a strong network of members and sympathizers in areas such as Eldoret, Garissa and Mombasa”
Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali leader the MYC chapter in southern Somalia is evidently a rising star , recently the sheikh featured for the first time in a video entitled (But If They Seek Your Help In Religion, It Is Your Duty To Help Them “ produced by Al Shabaabs media wing Al-kataaib and released on 7th January 2012, in it sheikh Ahmed called his supporters to wage jihad on Kenya for its incursion into Somalia, and “seeking help from the jews” in reference to a government statement, in which Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga asked Israeli President Shimon Peres, for assistance in building the capacity of the Kenyan police to deal with militant threats from Somalia.
On the front lines a sign that Kenya perhaps bitten off more than it can handle, is the capture of a major Al Shabaab financial hub is no longer an objective of the Kenyan defence forces, Kenyan defence minister was quoted;
(AFP) – Dec 2, 2011 “I don’t know where this objective came from. We have never stated at any time that Kenya was going to Kismayo,” he told journalists when asked how long it would take the troops to reach the port.
“All we said is that we were pushing Shebab away from our boundary and securing our border, and we will go as far as we will go,” he said on his return from Khartoum.
When a journalist asked “so the troops will not get to Kismayo?” he replied “Not necessarily.”
On November 1, army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir, describing a series of movements by Kenyan forces, said: “All this is designed to achieve our advance to Kismayo.”
Yet in defiance of ongoing operations, HSM mounted a brazen cross border raid into Kenya on the 12th January 2012 , HSM fighters managed to burn down a police post in Gerille town in Wajir district, killing 7 police officers also seizing 2 kenyan officials, vehicles, communication equipment and a cache of weapons according to a statement released by the group.
Below are details released by HSM of 2 civil servants the Islamist militia seized in the cross border attack.
Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen Media Department
Kenyan Prisoners of War
Name: Yesse, Mule Edward
Age: 30 years
Religion: Christian – Protestant
Marital Status: Married to Muna Garrise
1988-1995 K.C.P.E, Arap Moi Primary School, Ngao
1996-1999 K.C.S.E, Moi Forces Academy, Nairobi
2001 – 2007 Maseno University Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban and Regional Planning
Occupation: Kenyan Government District Officer (DO) for Burderi
At the time of his capture, POW was in Gerrile acting on behalf of DO Ruto.
Name: Fredrick Irungu Wainaina
Age: 56 years
Religion Christian – Methodist
Marital Status: Married to Nancy Meitumi
Primary School: Ndugamano in Muranga
Secondary School: Ichagag Secondary School
Children: Sons: John Wianaina, Peter Mwangi
Daughters: Jennifer Wanjiku, Yunis Waithera, Winnie Njeri, Anne
Occupation: Registration Clerk Working for the Kenyan Ministry of Immigration & Registration of Persons.
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