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Archive for the ‘Sharia Land of Somalia’ Category

Extremists attack hotel in Nairobi; al-Shabab claims role

January 15, 2019

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Extremists launched a deadly attack on a luxury hotel in Kenya’s capital Tuesday, sending people fleeing in panic as explosions and heavy gunfire reverberated through the complex. A witness said he saw five bodies at the hotel entrance alone.

Al-Shabab — the Somalia-based Islamic extremist group that carried out the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi that left 67 people dead — claimed responsibility. “It is terrible. What I have seen is terrible,” said Charles Njenga, who ran from the bloody, glass-strewn scene.

The coordinated assault began with an explosion that targeted three vehicles outside a bank, and a suicide bombing in the hotel lobby that severely wounded a number of guests, said Kenya’s national police chief, Joseph Boinnet.

Authorities sent special forces into the hotel to flush out the gunmen believed holed up inside. Well after nightfall, more than five hours after the attack began, Boinnet said the counter-operation was still going on.

It was not clear how many attackers laid siege to the complex, which includes the DusitD2 hotel, along with bars, restaurants, banks and offices and is in a well-to-do neighborhood with large numbers of American, European and Indian expatriates.

Boinnet did not disclose the number of dead. However, a Kenyan police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media said that bodies were seen in restaurants downstairs and in offices upstairs, but “there was no time to count the dead.”

Also, a witness who gave his name only as Ken said he saw five bodies at the entrance. He said that other people were shouting for help and “when we rushed back to try to rescue them, gunshots started coming from upstairs, and we had to duck because they were targeting us and we could see two guys shooting.”

Kenyan hospitals appealed for blood donations even as the number of wounded remained unclear. Associated Press video from inside the hotel showed Kenyan security officers anxiously searching the building and scared workers emerging from hiding while gunfire could still be heard. Some women climbed out of windows. One man got up from the floor where he appeared to be trying to hide under a piece of wood paneling, then showed his ID badge.

As officers searched luxury fashion displays, wounded people were carried away on stretchers. Like al-Shabab’s Westgate Mall attack, this one appeared aimed at wealthy Kenyans and foreigners living in the country. It came a day after a magistrate ruled that three men must stand trial in connection with the Westgate Mall siege. A fourth suspect was freed for lack of evidence.

Al-Shabab has vowed retribution against Kenya for sending troops to Somalia since 2011. The al-Qaida-linked group has killed hundreds of people in Kenya, which has been targeted more than any other of the six countries providing troops to an African Union force in Somalia.

In the Westgate Mall massacre, al-Shabab extremists burst into the luxury shopping center, hurling grenades and starting a dayslong siege. In 2015, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack on Kenya’s Garissa University that killed 147 people, mostly students. Tuesday’s violence also came three years to the day after al-Shabab extremists attacked a Kenyan military base in Somalia, killing scores of people.

Gunfire could be heard for hours after Tuesday’s attack began. Several vehicles burned, sending black smoke rising over the complex. Some people ducked behind cars, screaming, while others took cover behind fountains and other features at the lush complex.

Ambulances, security forces and firefighters converged along with a bomb disposal unit, and vehicles were cordoned off for fear they contained explosives. Police said they blew up a car that had explosives inside. An unexploded grenade was also seen in a hallway at the complex.

Security forces hurried out a large group of women, one of them still in curlers. Dozens of others were rushed to safety as plainclothes officers went shop to shop in the complex. Some people held up their hands to show they were unarmed.

A Kenyan intelligence official said the country had been on high alert since November, with information about potential attacks on high-profile targets in Nairobi. The official was not authorized to talk to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A Somali diplomat who likewise spoke on condition of anonymity said Somali officials were in the hotel for meetings at the time of the attack and several were feared to still be inside. Despite the years of bloodshed, the Kenya-Somalia border remains porous, with al-Shabab extremists able to easily bribe their way across, according to a U.N. panel of experts.

The hotel complex in Nairobi’s Westlands neighborhood is about a mile (2 kilometers) from Westgate Mall on a relatively quiet, tree-lined road in what is considered one of the most secure parts of the city. The hotel’s website says it is “cocooned away from the hustle and bustle in a secure and peaceful haven.”

On Monday, the hotel promoted its spa by tweeting: “Is your new year off to a rough start?”

Associated Press writer Abdi Guled in Nairobi contributed.

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Turkey opens military training base in Somalia capital

September 30, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The Turkish government has opened a military training base, its largest in Africa, in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The Turkish chief of staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire inaugurated the newly-constructed facility on Saturday.

Khaire thanked Turkey for “unwavering” support to help Somalia rebuild its fractured army and stabilize the war-torn country. Two hundred Turkish military officers will train 10,000 Somali soldiers at the base which includes army dormitories, training grounds and prisons.

Somalia’s army, including former militia, is struggling to battle the Islamic extremist al-Shabab insurgents who are fighting to establish an Islamic state under strict Shariah law. The Somali government is challenged to take over the country’s security before the scheduled withdrawal of 22,000 African Union forces late next year.

Turkey to open its largest military base in the world in Somalia

19 March 2017 Sunday

Turkey will open its largest military base in the world in Somalia in April. Soldiers from the Somalia National Army and soldiers from many African countries will be trained by the Turkish Army in the base that is being constructed in Mogadishu.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar are expected to attend the official opening.

Somalia’s Defense Minister, General Abdulkadir Ali Dini, visited the military base yesterday with a military delegation.

Minister Dini, who visited the base near its completion, thanked the Turkish military and civilian authorities for preparing the base.

Somali President Mohammad Abdullah Muhammad ‘Farmajo’ tweeted from his official account and announced that the base would be opened very soon. “Turkey’s largest military base in the world is almost complete. Soon the Somali Army will return strongly,” President Farmajo said.

Cost of $50 million

The construction of the $50 million base began in March 2015. It will have the capacity to train 500 soldiers at the same time.

The facility is located close to Mogadishu’s airport and three kilometers (1.8 miles) from Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital and the Port of Mogadishu.

The base will occupy 400 hectares and house three military schools, dormitories and depots.

Somalia and Turkey share multi-tiered cooperation. Turkey provides Somalia with military aid, education support, infrastructural development and skills training.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/headlines/186505/turkey-to-open-its-largest-military-base-in-the-world-in-somalia.

Former Somali refugee takes over Canada’s immigration ministry

January 12, 2017

During a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a former Somali-born refugee, Ahmed Hussen, as the new Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Hussen was the first Somali-Canadian to be voted to parliament in 2015, where he represented the ruling Liberal Party of Canada. He has served on the Justice and Human Rights Committee as well as the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association.

Prior to being elected, Hussen worked as a lawyer, practicing criminal defense, immigration and refugee law. He has served on the board of the Global Enrichment Foundation, which helps women in East Africa go to university and colleges in the region, as well as the board for the Toronto-based Journalists for Human Rights.

Since his election, Hussen has become a household name among Somalis in the diaspora, as he headed the Canadian Somali Congress – a community based group that champions the interest of Somalis by engaging the Canadian authorities whiles also at it, strengthening civic engagement and integration.

His election has been touted as a symbol of the Canadian Liberal Party’s openness to immigrant communities.

Ahmed Hussen, a lawyer, and community activist came to Canada in 1993 at the age of 16 after fleeing his hometown, the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170112-former-somali-refugee-takes-over-canadas-immigration-ministry/.

Car blast kills 16 at police station in Somalia’s capital

December 11, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A suicide car bomber killed at least 16 people and injured nine others at a police station in the Somalia capital, a Somali police official said Sunday. The attack early Sunday targeted a police station adjacent to Mogadishu seaport, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein.

At the blast scene, medical workers carried bodies burned beyond recognition to ambulances. Human limbs and bloodied shoes were scattered across the blast scene. Most of the victims are port workers and police officers.

Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack, the second blast in the seaside capital in two days. The insurgents said they had killed “apostates” in the attack, according to the group’s Andalus radio.

On Saturday, a suspected suicide car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint near Mogadishu when soldiers stopped him for security checks. Despite being ousted from most of its key strongholds in south and central Somalia, al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks against the Somali government and African Union forces across large parts of the horn of Africa nation.

More than 22,000 peacekeepers are deployed in Somalia in the multi-national African Union force. Al-Shabab opposes the presence of the foreign troops. A surge in attacks by al-Shabab could lead to further delays in the country’s presidential elections, which have been set for Dec. 28.

The elections have already been delayed three times.

Somalia: Islamic State Seize Militants Town in Puntland

27 October 2016

By Harun Maruf

Pro-Islamic State militants have seized their first big town in the Puntland region of Somalia, officials and residents told VOA.

The militants moved into the Red Sea town of Qandala, 90 miles east of Bosaso, in the early hours of Wednesday without any confrontations.

Officials from the Puntland administration have left the town. The chairman of the town, Jama Mohamed Mumin, confirmed to VOA’s Somali Service that the town was seized by “Daesh.”

A resident in the town told VOA Somali that about 60 militants entered the town and hoisted their flag on top of the police station and another historical building.

“Early in the morning they restricted our movement, now they eased restrictions and we are trying to leave the town,” says the resident, who asked not to be identified for security reasons.

He said local elders met with the militants and told them to leave the town but says the militants insisted ‘they are not going anywhere.”

The pro-Islamic State faction in northeastern Somalia is led by Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin, a former al-Shabab cleric who pledged his allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a year ago.

Last month, the U.S. State Department designated Mumin as a global terrorist.

A former al-Shabab member estimates that about 200 pro-IS fighters are in the group. A security expert puts the number a bit higher at 300.

Qandala is a strategic port town facing the coastal towns of Yemen. The former Intelligence Director of Puntland Abdi Hassan said earlier that IS has started delivering supplies through their affiliate faction in Yemen.

“They received military supplies from Yemen – weapons, uniform, ISIS sent trainers who inspected their bases, and they have started sending financial support,” he said. “The weapons’ shipment was delivered by sea from Mukallah city in Hadramouth, it has arrived from the Red Sea coast of Somalia in February and March this year.”

Source: allAfrica.

Link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201610270627.html.

Officials: Siege of gunmen in Somali hotel enters 2nd day

March 28, 2015

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Gunmen from the Somali extremist group al-Shabab, who had taken up positions in a hotel frequented by government officials and dignitaries killing at least nine people, were exchanging fire with government troops more than 12 hours later, officials said Saturday

After the gunmen’s initial attack Friday, government troops managed to take up the first floor of the Maka Al-Mukarramah hotel in the capital Mogadishu. The gunmen were believed to be on the third and fourth floor, Capt. Mohammed Hussein said.

Hussein said the attackers were hurling grenades at the Somali special forces. The African Union Mission In Somalia, or AMISOM, posted on Twitter that there were reports of possible hostages. The attack started when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car at the gate of the hotel. Gunmen then quickly moved in.

Hours later, the militants were still holed up in the hotel’s dark alleys and rooms. Sporadic gunfire could be heard, but it appeared that the security forces would wait until daybreak before trying again to dislodge the militants.

Al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group that has carried out many attacks in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the assault on the hotel, which is popular with Somali government officials and foreigners.

But al-Shabab routinely carries out suicide bombings, drive-by shootings and other attacks in Mogadishu, the seat of Somalia’s Western-backed government — often targeting government troops, lawmakers and foreigners.

Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu between 2007 and 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by African Union forces. Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly insurgency against Somalia’s government and remains a threat in the East African region.

The group has carried out attacks in neighboring countries, including Kenya, whose military is part of the African Union troops bolstering Somalia’s weak government from al-Shabab insurgency. At least 67 people were killed in a September 2013 attack by al-Shabab on a mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi

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