Category Archives: Humanitarian Issues

Kenya – Ruto says security forces killed 100 Al Shabab after Mandera atrack

BBC
The Kenyan military has killed more than 100 al-Shabab militants linked to a deadly attack on a bus, Kenya’s deputy president says.

William Ruto said the armed forces had carried out two operations in Somalia, destroying equipment and a camp from which the bus attack was planned.

In Saturday’s attack, gunmen pulled non-Muslims passengers from a bus in northern Kenya, killing 28 of them.

A local governor said a total security overhaul was needed.

Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since 2011, the year that Kenya sent troops into Somalia to help battle the Islamist group.

Mr Ruto gave details of the military operation after attending a Sunday service at a church in Nyahururu.

The driver of the bus tried to accelerate away from the militants, but the vehicle got stuck in wet mud
“I can assure you that those behind the attack did not even take their supper,” he was quoted as saying by the Standard newspaper.

“They were killed by our officers who we sent out immediately after the attack. They did not find time to celebrate their heinous crime.”

He said security officials were in “full control” and urged other leaders to co-operate with the government rather than criticise it.

In Saturday’s attack in Mandera county, close to the Somali border, witnesses described how passengers were asked to recite passages from the Koran and those who failed were made to lie on the ground before being shot in the head.

Afterwards, at least one local official said that pleas for extra security in the area had gone unanswered.

On Sunday, Mandera Governor Ali Roba called on the government to “reshuffle” its entire security team in the region, saying that officers did not follow up on cases and that a state of insecurity was considered normal.

“Many suspects who are apprehended are released from cells under unknown circumstances, even when there is evidence of their involvement in crime,” Mr Roba told Kenya’s Daily Nation.

Somalia-based al-Shabab said it had carried out Saturday’s attack in retaliation for a government crackdown on mosques in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa that were allegedly used by extremists. Security forces seized weapons during the raids.

Mr Ruto said such police operations would not stop.

“We will not allow our praying places to be used as armoury,” he said. “This operation is going to happen no matter what.”

He also called on Muslim religious leaders to help ensure that mosques were not taken over by extremists.

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Nigeria – Boko Haram kill 48 fishermen near Chad border

BBC
‘Boko Haram’ kills 48 Nigerian fishermen near Chad

Islamist militants from Nigeria’s Boko Haram have reportedly killed 48 people in an attack on fish sellers near the border with Chad.

A fish traders’ group said some victims had their throats slit whilst others were tied up and drowned in Lake Chad.

The attack took place on Thursday, but the news took several days to come to light because Boko Haram has destroyed mobile phone masts in the area.

It was the second major attack in two days by Boko Haram.

In Thursday’s attack, the traders were on their way to Chad to buy fish when militants blocked their path near the village of Doron Baga, some 180km (112 miles) north of Maiduguri in Borno state.

Abubakar Gamandi, the head of the fish sellers’ association, said the militants had used no guns.

“The attackers killed their victims silently without the use of the gun to avoid attracting attention from the multi-national troops,” he told AFP news agency.

Troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger have been deployed to the area and have a base at Doron Baga, but the military task force has had little impact, says the BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos.

On Wednesday, Boko Haram gunmen attacked the village of Azaya Kura, also in Borno state, killing at least 45 people.

In this attack too, victims’ hands were tied behind their backs and their throats were slit. The attack was apparently aimed at punishing the community after four insurgents were pointed out to soldiers and were shot dead.

Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency in Nigeria since 2009.

It has stepped up attacks against civilian targets since the Nigerian military launched an offensive against the group last year.

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Kenya – presidential advisor says Al Shabab wants religious war

BBC

Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabab ‘wants religious war’

Kenyan security forces at the scene of the bus attack near the town of Mandera in northern Kenya - 22 November 2014The driver of the bus tried to accelerate away from the militants, but the vehicle got stuck in wet mud

The slaughter of 28 people on a bus in Kenya is a bid to start a religious war, a senior adviser to President Uhuru Kenyatta has told the BBC.

Abdikadir Mohammed called on Kenyans of “all faiths and creeds” to stand together against the “heinous crimes”.

At dawn on Saturday, al-Shabab gunmen attacked the bus in northern Kenya, shooting dead non-Muslim passengers.

The Somalia-based Islamist group has carried out numerous attacks across Kenya since 2011.

Survivor Ahmed Mahat told the BBC how the bus attack took place

The bus was travelling to the capital, Nairobi, when it was stopped in Mandera county, not far from the border with Somalia.

Gunmen separated out non-Muslims by asking passengers to read from the Koran, officials and witnesses said. Those who failed were then shot in the head.

Kenya’s Red Cross confirmed that 28 of the 60 passengers on the bus were killed, 19 men and nine women.

One survivor, Douglas Ochwodho, told how he was singled out to be killed but was not shot and then pretended to be dead among the bodies.

‘Heinous crimes’

“The aim is to create conflict between the Muslims and the non-Muslims in this country,” Mr Mohammed told the BBC. “The aim is to create a religious war, religious strife, in Kenya.”

“We have had a lot of the Muslim leaders come out today [Saturday] and strongly condemn this and call on Kenyans of all faiths and creeds to stand together against these heinous crimes and criminals.”

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Al-Shabab said the attack was in retaliation for recent killings of Muslims by the Kenyan security forces in the coastal town of Mombasa.

The Kenyan authorities said they had begun to identify the killers and would bring them to justice.

The interior ministry said a camp belonging to the attackers had been destroyed by Kenyan military helicopters and jets, with “many killed”.

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Analysis: Anne Soy, BBC News, Nairobi

Mandera shares a long and porous border with Somalia. The area – in fact the region – has been prone to insecurity since Kenya’s independence in 1963.

It’s a vast arid and semi-arid area that is sparsely populated and characterised by poor infrastructure and very few schools and hospitals. Communities in the north have felt marginalised by the national government for decades.

Guns are readily available due to its proximity to Somalia and the south of Ethiopia where the Oromo Liberation Front is active. Al-Shabab has a base on the Somali side of the border – Gadondhawe – which was recently bombarded by Kenyan warplanes.

It’s a confluence of factors that makes it a fertile ground for recruitment by the militant group.

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Relatives of those who were killed cry as the bodies of their loved ones arrive at Chiromo mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya - 22 November 2014The bodies of the 19 men and nine women were airlifted to Nairobi, where grieving family members waited

One of the passengers on the bus, Ahmed Mahat, told the BBC that the bus driver tried to accelerate away from the militants but the vehicle became stuck in mud, about 30km (19 miles) from Mandera town.

He said about 10 heavily-armed men speaking Somali ordered the passengers off the bus.

“When we got down, passengers were separated according to Somali and non-Somalis,” Mr Mahat said.

Some Somalis were shot after pleading with the gunmen to spare non-Somali passengers, he said.

‘Avoidable massacre’

A local official quoted by Kenyan media said the government had failed to answer their pleas for extra security in an area “prone to attacks”.

Al-Shabab – a potent threat in East Africa

“This is not the first time the government has totally ignored us, and you can now see the how many innocent precious lives have been lost,” county official Abdullahi Abdirahman said.

“Today we are experiencing avoidable massacre,” he added.

Britain and the United States condemned the attack, pledging to help Kenya in its fight against terrorism.

Last week, Kenyan police shut down four mosques in the port city of Mombasa, a largely Muslim city, saying they were being used to store weapons. The raids triggered apparent revenge attacks by Muslim youths.

Kenya has experienced a series of al-Shabab attacks since it sent troops to Somalia three years ago to help fight the militant group.

Mali – Islamists abduct 10 children and kill two

Reuters

Suspected Islamist fighters kill two children, abduct 10

Sat, Nov 22 2014

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Suspected Islamist fighters kidnapped 10 children and killed two others who tried to escape near two towns in Mali on Saturday, capping a week of violence in the West African country’s desert north, a senior Malian military official said.

Al Qaeda-linked Islamists seized northern Mali in 2012, forcing a French-led military intervention last year that scattered the fighters across a vast region with porous borders. However, they continue to carry out insurgent-style attacks.

Lieutenant Colonel Diaran Kone, an official at Mali’s defence ministry, said Saturday’s incident occurred in the morning at settlements outside the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.

“It was a forced recruitment of child soldiers,” he told Reuters. “Twelve were kidnapped. They shot and killed two who tried to escape.”

The raids came the day after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a phosphate mine in the town of Bourem without causing any other casualties, according to a government statement on Friday.

The bodies of two Tuareg separatist militants were found near the village of Takabort, around 40 km (25 miles) outside Kidal on Thursday.

“We found them with their throats slit like sheep,” Algabass Ag Intalla, head of the Tuareg High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA), told Reuters. “They were both HCUA militants. Investigations are under way to find out who did this.”

A third round of peace negotiations began in Algiers on Thursday between the Malian government and a grouping of mostly Tuareg rebel groups, who split with their former Islamist allies ahead of the French offensive.

The talks are meant to decide on the status of the north in the aim of ending decades of uprisings there that have destabilised the entire country.

South Sudan – Garang’s widow says talks with Kiir about reconciliation

Sudan Tribune
November 20, 2014 (JUBA) – Rebecca Nyandeng, the widow of South Sudan’s former leader, John Garang said reconciliatory talks she recently held with president Salva Kiir were meant to bridge existing difference, not lobby for positions in the next government.

Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, the widow of the late John Garang, founding leader of the country’s ruling party (SPLM)
Last week, Nyandeng and other former South Sudan ruling party (SPLM) members, who included ex-secretary general, Pagan Amum, met president Kiir in Uganda.

“This is a very important step in trying to bring peace and stability to our people and the country. The unity of the SPLM is very important because the current conflict was sparked by political debates within the SPLM leadership and if the president, who is one of the key players in the conflict, is genuine in his campaign for peace, then this is something encouraging,” Nyandeng told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

“After all this is not the first time that the SPLM has split,” she added.

Nyandeng, a critic of the current leadership, called for honest dialogue that bridges differences.

“People should not sit idle and say prayer is the only solution. People should be made aware of the importance of being in a state of preparedness and make sure they acquire what they need to do some dialogue. We should be ready to do this for the sake of the unity of country,” she said.

A former advisor to president Kiir, Nyandeng defended her role in the ongoing peace process, but said the meeting with the South Sudanese leader was not an attempt to return to government at the expense of reforms she advocated for before prior to her sacking.

“It is unfortunate if there are people who seem to interpret the meeting we had in Uganda with president Salva and members of his delegation to mean attempt to return to the government because of any isolation in the peace process,” said Nyandeng.

“I am not isolated in the peace process. I am part of the process and following it closely,” she added.

The former first lady further clarified that the Kampala meeting was neither her initiative nor from the former detainees, but an arrangement by Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.

“We responded because president Museveni plays a critical role in the process and use his influence to facilitate dialogue for a more inclusive peaceful and democratic process,” she said.

(ST)

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Kenya – 28 killed in northern Kenya bus attack

Nation

At least 28 killed in suspected Shabaab attack on Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera

Four police officers were among those killed in the Mandera bus attack. County Commander Noah Mwivanda says most of the dead are teachers and health workers.

Relatives of those believed to have travelled in the bus that was attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militia outside the Makkah bus offices in Mandera. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary

  • The county commander said reports indicated that all those who had so far been executed were Christians who failed to recite verses of the Quran.
  • Abdullahi Abdirahman, Arabiya Ward Representative also confirmed the 5:30am attack, noting that the place has been prone of attacks.

MANASE OTSIALO

At least 28 people were killed after suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera.

Confirming the 5:30am attack, Mandera East deputy County Commissioner Elvis Korir said initial reports indicated that about a 100 armed militia stopped the bus and ordered everyone out.

He said the attack happened as the bus — from Makkah Travels firm —climbed the hills of the notorious Omar Jillo area in Arabiya Ward, Mandera East Sub-county.

“We are told a hundred armed men stopped the bus just after it left Arabiya area and all the passengers were asked to come down. They were then divided into two groups, of Somali and non-Somali,” said Mr Korir.

He said the non-Somali group was sprayed with bullets as the other group watched in disbelief.

“We are told more than twenty-eight people have been killed and many others injured but we are yet to know the exact happening since we are planning to dispatch a team of security personnel to the scene,” he said.

(Read: Governor faults police for ‘downplaying’ Mandera attacks)

Relatives of those believed to have travelled in the bus that was attacked milled outside the Makkah Travels offices in Mandera Town.

Records at the office indicated that 59 passengers were booked to travel to Nairobi.

Mr Korir said arrangements were underway to have the bodies brought to Mandera General Hospital, 30 kilometres away from the scene of the attack.

ISLAMIC VERSES Speaking as he dispatched the police to the scene, Mandera County Police Commander, Noah Mwivanda, said the militia asked everyone on board to recite Islamic verses and those who failed were shot dead.

“We have been communicating to two young ladies who managed to escape. They said, from their hiding, that four police officers are among the dead but we are yet to confirm because some officers had just left for December holidays,” said Mr Mwivanda.

Mr Mwivanda said there were plans for an aerial surveillance of the area before the security team leaves for rescue.

He said this was because a similar attack late last year at the area was used as a trap, in which eight police officers were killed.

We are told these people are well armed and we can’t just go like that since it could be a trap, just like in the past, said Mr Mwivanda.

PRONE TO ATTACKS

Abdullahi Abdirahman, the Arabiya Ward Representative, also confirmed the attack, noting that the place has been prone to attacks.

“This place has been prone to attacks, this is not the first time the government has totally ignored us, and you can now see the how many innocent precious lives have been lost,” he said.

Relatives of those believed to have travelled in the bus that was attacked by suspected alshabaab outside the MAKKAH bus offices in Mandera.

Arrangements underway to have the bodies brought to mandera hospital 30 kms away from the scene.

Additional reporting by Abdimalik Hajir

Kenya – Al Shabab suspected of killing of 28 bus passengers in Northern Kenya

Reuters

Attackers ambushed a bus and killed 28 people early on Saturday in northeast Kenya, police and the Ministry of Interior said.

It was not immediately clear who the attackers were.

“Bandits ambushed a bus from Mandera that was heading to Nairobi at dawn and killed 28 passengers of the 60 that were in the bus,” the ministry said on its Twitter feed.

Police Spokesman Masoud Mwinyi confirmed the incident.

The government-run National Disaster Operations Centre said on its Twitter feed that the attack took place some 30 km from the town of Mandera.

Tensions have escalated in Mandera County, near the border with Ethiopia and Somalia, in the past year as clashes between clans have displaced hundreds of people.

The region is awash with guns due to its proximity to Somalia, where al Shabaab has been fighting to topple the government, and Ethiopia, from where the armed Oromo Liberation Front has made incursions into Kenya.

The attack underscores fears over the lack of security, especially in the remote parts of northern Kenya.

In early November, gunmen killed 20 police officers and two police reservists in an ambush in Turkana county in the northwest of Kenya.