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Posts tagged ‘al-Shabab’

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.

Al-Shabab denies kidnapping Briton

Wed Sep 14, 2011

Somalia’s anti-government al-Shabab group has denied any involvement in the abduction of a British woman from a luxury beach resort in Kenya, Press TV reports.

A senior al-Shabab official in Kismayo, 200 km (120 miles) north of the Kenyan border, told Press TV on Wednesday that the Briton, 56-year-old Judith Tebbutt, had been brought to the Somali port city. He also dismissed reports that al-Shabab had any links with her kidnapping.

“We have credible information that the (British) woman is held in Kismayo but we are not responsible,” the al-Shabab official said on condition of anonymity.

“Hopefully we will find out who is responsible and issue official statement on the matter,” he added.

Unidentified gunmen raided the remote Kiwayu Safari Village, Kenya, in the early hours of Sunday, shooting dead publishing executive David Tebbutt, 58, and taking hostage his wife Judith before escaping by boat.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament on Wednesday that he had chaired a crisis meeting on the kidnapping.

“We are doing everything we possibly can on this desperately tragic case,” he said on Wednesday.

“The Foreign Secretary (William Hague) has met with the family today. I think on some of these cases it is not right to air all of these issues in public but I can reassure … the Tebbutt family (that) we will do everything possible to help, ” Cameron added.

Concern has been growing for Judith Tebbutt, who is believed to be deaf and wear a double hearing aid.

Police in Kenya say they have arrested a man suspected of aiding the gunmen. He is believed to have information about the person, who organized the kidnapping.

Source: PressTV.

Somalia’s al-Shabab joins al-Qaeda

Fri Feb 10, 2012

Al-Qaeda’s chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced in a video message that the Somali militant group al-Shabab has joined ranks with the global terrorist organization, Press TV reports.

Zawahiri gave “glad tidings” that al-Shabab had formally joined al-Qaeda in a 15-minute video released by Al-Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab on Thursday.

“I will break the good news …, which will please the believers and disturb the disbelievers, and it is that al-Shabab movement in Somalia has joined al-Qaeda,” Zawahiri said.

In the first part of the video, al-Shabab’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, addressed Zawahiri, saying: “We will move along with you as faithful soldiers.”

“In the name of my mujahedeen brothers, leaders and soldiers… I pledge obedience,” Zubair said.

Somalia has been without an effective central government and descended into chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew former junta chief Mohamed Siad Barre.

The weak Western-backed transition government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for the past five years, and is propped up by a 10,000-strong African Union force from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.

Somalia is one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people in the world.

Source: PressTV.

Al-Shabaab militants withdraw from Somali capital

MOGADISHU (BNO NEWS) — The Somali militant group Al-Shabaab on Saturday retreated from the country’s war-ravaged capital following fierce clashes with government forces and their allies.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said Al-Shabaab, which controls much of southern Somalia, retreated from Mogadishu after heavy fighting early Saturday with government and African Union forces. “Al-Shabaab and al Qaida are a menace to Somalia and it is happy news that we defeated them in Mogadishu,” the president told reporters, according to CNN.

He also warned of possible suicide bombings and advised Mogadishu residents not to rush to areas vacated by Al-Shabaab fighters, saying the group may have booby-trapped the area.

Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage confirmed the fighters left the city but said the fighting was hardly over.

“The reasons we withdrew from Mogadishu is we have made changes in our tactics of war,” he told the group’s radio station, Andalus, as quoted by CNN. “We withdrew because we want to save lives of the poor civilians but we will launch operations against government (and African Union) forces in the coming hours.”

Some believe the Islamists withdrew because of funding woes and drought-related issues. The war-ravaged Horn of African country is experiencing severe droughts and the United Nations has already declared famine in five areas, including Mogadishu.

In early July, Al-Shabaab announced that they were lifting a ban on international and local aid agencies in order to assist the drought affected people. The group imposed the ban in 2009, alleging that foreign aid agencies are pro-Somalia government.

The United Nations humanitarian agency, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, estimated that 10 million people across the Horn of Africa are facing a severe food crisis following a prolonged drought in the region.

Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts that took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Despite efforts from the Somali and Ethiopian government, the group has continued its violent insurgency in southern and central Somalia.

In addition, the al Qaida-linked group was likely responsible for a wave of five coordinated suicide car bombings in October 2008 that simultaneously hit targets in two cities in northern Somalia, killing at least 26 people and injuring 29 others. Al-Shabaab has been accused of conducting the twin suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, on July 11, 2010, that killed more than 70 people.

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

Al Shabab warns Djibouti not to send troops to Somalia

Monday, May, 16 2011

Djibouti on Saturday announced that it will send two battalions of troops to the war-torn Somalia to join the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMSIOM).

Mogadishu (Sunatimes) Al-Shabab militias have warned the government of Djibouti no to send troops in Somalia.

The spokesman for Al Shabab, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, held a press conference in Mogadishu, and warned the government of Djibouti against sending any forces to Somalia as part of the African Union Peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

He says that if Djibouti troops are sent to Somalia, they should expect the same reception given to the Ugandan and Burundian soldiers.

Rage asserts that Al Shabab is already angered by the support the Djibouti government is offering to the transitional federal government of Somalia and the western countries.

Djibouti on Saturday announced that it will send two battalions of troops to the war-torn Somalia to join the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMSIOM).

However, Mr. Yusuf said that their troops will not participate in any confrontation between the Somali government forces and the opposing militias. He said the Djibouti troops will mainly participate in providing technical support to the other peacekeepers.

By Rooble Dirir

Source: Suna Times.

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Bans Smoking Cigarettes, Chewing Khat

By Hamsa Omar – May 9, 2011

Somalia’s al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group that controls most of the southern and central parts of the country, banned smoking cigarettes and chewing khat, a leafy narcotic, in the Afgoye district.

Anyone caught violating the ban, which includes selling tobacco products, may face 30 days and a fine, said Sheikh Aby Ramla, head of the information department in Afogye, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab, which the U.S. alleges is linked to al-Qaeda, has been battling the western-backed Somali government for control of the Horn of Africa nation since 2007.

Source: Bloomberg.

Al Shabaab bans smoking in southern Somalia town

Abdi Hajji Hussein
Afgoye, Somalia
May 9, 2011

Somalia’s al Qaeda-inspired group on Monday banned residents in Afgoye town in southern Somalia from smoking cigarettes, the first such step the militant group has ever introduced after banning khat.

Residents said that al Shabaab pickups mounted with big speakers could be seen in the town of Afgoye, announcing the ban.

“Everyone must abstain from smoking cigarette and consuming tobacco. If anyone is seen smoking will be jailed one month and that person will be fined three million of Somali shillings (US $97),” Sheikh Abu Ramla, an al Shabaab official, told a crowd of people in Afgoye market Monday morning.

He also warned businessmen against selling cigarettes in the town, saying the trader who violates the ban would receive the same punishment.

The ban caused businessmen in the town to express a deep concern about their business as cigarette sales are one of the major businesses throughout Somalia.

The Somali fundamentalist group in the past imposed a ban on selling khat, a plant with narcotic properties, in the towns they control.

Source: All Headline News (AHN).

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